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Manuel Pellegrini Hoping Cup Provides A Catalyst For Success

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Chris Brunskill

Around nine months since their shock defeat to Wigan in the 2013 FA Cup final Manchester City have the chance to avenge that shock day at Wembley and in the process provide validation of sorts for Manuel Pellegrini.

That rainy day in London at the end of May marked the end of the Roberto Mancini era at the club, with the news breaking on the eve of the game and largely overshadowing the day. Such was the extent of the City fans displeasure with the impending decision to part company with the Italian that chants against Pellegrini rained across the stadium.

Rather than being anti-Pellegrini in nature they were as a mark of loyalty towards Mancini, who of course had delivered an FA Cup, Premier League title and Champions League football, and fast forward through two-thirds of the 2013/14 season and Pellegrini commands unilateral approval amongst fans thanks to his brand of attacking football that has put City on the cusp of contending for an unprecedented domestic treble.

In his press conference yesterday (Friday) ahead of the game Pellegrini spoke of the importance of tomorrow, not just in the short term but over the long terms as well:

"It's very important for the team to have a winning mentality and to have an ambitious mentality. Both of these things start from winning the Capital One Cup, then trying to win other titles. I am sure that we are doing the right things the right way and we want to win this trophy and try to fight for other titles this year."

When Pellegrini took over at the club, amidst the talk of the holistic approach was the 'target' of five trophies in five years, an ambition that a club of City's position and standing should be achieving. Although City will be expected to the win the trophy, to do so could also provide a psychological boost ahead of the remaining crucial months.

For Pellegrini too, a win tomorrow is important. Despite success in South America, Pellegrini has yet to land a trophy in Europe (although expectations of this should be qualified) so to do so, in his first season and at the first available opportunity, will be a nice addition to his resume and ensure there is no build up pressure upon him.

City start as strong favourites, despite Sunderland's upturn in form of late and their impressive run to the final, and it would be a surprise if they weren't hoisting the trophy sometime around 4pm on Sunday yet Pellegrini will know the importance of the occasion and what the win could bring.

And in doing so they could erase some of the memories of the shocking outcome the last time they visited Wembley.