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Pragmatic Pellegrini?

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Yesterday is perhaps an extreme example to highlight given the weather conditions and the fact that it was the first of two games in 48 hours but I do feel it was symptomatic of a shift in Manuel Pellegrini's thinking in 2014/15 in comparison to 2013/14.

An argument could be made that the game at The Hawthorns was over when Yaya Toure put City 2-0 up from the spot; by half-time it certainly was. The second half then saw Samir Nasri, David Silva and Toure all withdrawn, legs rested for future exertions, but not before a drop in City's tempo. 3-0 up you can either sit back, content with what you have or push on for more.

Last season we saw wins against Arsenal, Tottenham and Norwich for example which were examples of a relentless nature to City's play. Pellegrini was committed to attack and showed no signs of deviating from this approach.

This season though there appears to have been a shift in attitude. Perhaps it is the number of injuries he has had, but equally maybe the experience of a Premier League season highlighted quite how demanding it can be on a squad. We saw the likes of Fernando and Bacary Sagna brought in during the summer (both used yesterday), ostensibly to provide depth but it is more the playing style that has been noticeable.

Far from abandoning the attack (how could you commit to anything else given the myriad of talent at your disposal) but there is less an all-out attack approach and a greater pragmatism. Pellegrini utilises his bench well, noticeably often does not play Nasri and Silva a full 90 minutes and with the security of a lead has been content to take less risk - not in terms of committing players forward but in terms of the pace of the game.

Pellegrini may not liken comparisons to Jose Mourinho but this has been a trademark of his style at Chelsea. Rarely does Mourinho rotate but rarely do they suffer injuries. Is there a gameplan to drop the tempo on the hour mark to conserve legs and minds for future games? If so, is this in itself akin to rotating (i.e. resting) players?

It is something I want to look a little more into and hopefully after the Burnley game tomorrow is something I'll get chance to ask Pellegrini about.