Manuel Pellegrini blames FFP restrictions for Manchester City's Champions League exit
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini singled out the Financial Fair Play restrictions placed on his team for the Champions League exit at the hands of Barcelona last night. City broke FFP rules with excessive spending last year and was limited to a 21-man squad limit for the UEFA Champions League as punishment.
Despite the punishment, the reigning English champions spent around £90 million on new players this season. But Pellegrini feels the handicap largely undermined his side’s chances of progressing further in Europe’s elite club competition.
He said, “I think we need to improve. If we want to be successful in Europe, we must improve.”
“I also think that it was maybe not our best year to continue in Europe. Remember we have important restrictions on the amount of players, the amount of money that we can spend, so it was a difficult year for us, for our team in that sense.”
City lost to the better team
However, Pellegrini readily admitted that Barcelona was the better team during the round-of-16 second leg tie at the Camp Nou.
The Chilean coach said, “But I think that maybe if we don't play against Barcelona we can continue. I think we lost against a better team without doubt. Lionel Messi is very difficult to contain. Maybe we didn't play so well in the first half but we improved in the second and we took risks.”
“We needed to score two goals and we thought it might happen had we scored the penalty. That was a very important moment because we had 15 minutes more to play.”
The former Malaga coach has been under pressure lately with various reports suggesting that he might be sacked following City’s drop in form domestically and in Europe. The 61-year-old however maintained that the rumours doesn’t affect his commitment to do his job.
He said, “No, for me it's not a distraction, I never worry about me so it doesn't [distract me], I suppose.”