Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images for The Coaches' Voice

Manuel Pellegrini

Manchester City, 2013-2016

“You try to flick different emotional switches so a player feels really committed to a project.”

Manuel Pellegrini has managed in top leagues across the world, from River Plate in Argentina to Real Madrid in Spain and Manchester City in England. In this exclusive piece with The Coaches’ Voice, the Chilean who led City to the Premier League title in 2014 reveals how he has learned to manage his players, and what he demands from them.

“In the first part of my career as a manager, I spent a lot of time on tactical, technical and physical understanding – everything to do with players’ performance.

When my time at Universidad Católica came to an end in 1996, over the following two and a half years I assessed the positives and negatives and I spoke to a lot of the players that I’d managed.

I think in among what you try and learn day in, day out, is that with a group of footballers – human beings – the environment is absolutely fundamental.

On a professional level, you must be able to reach different personalities and bring all these personalities together to achieve a common goal, where everyone feels important, where those who aren’t playing feel like they are playing a part too.

I think the best way, actually, is through the mind. The mind. You can try and flick different emotional switches so a player really feels committed to a project.

Usually, the first few days I’m with the players I tell them how I work with a group, not just on the pitch but off the pitch, too.

For me, there are three things that are totally non-negotiable with players.

First of all, respect. Respect for everything: the club, fans, journalists, coaching staff, directors. Respect among the players themselves, that’s very important.

Second is commitment. I think there are a lot of ways to coach, but you have to get the commitment of the group to your way of coaching.

And third: performance. For me, it is not up for negotiation at all. I try to be as objective as possible. I understand players who aren’t playing can’t be happy, but my demands of them have to be exactly the same.”

Manuel Pellegrini


Manuel Pellegrini

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