New Manchester city boss Manuel Pellegrini has shown himself to be adept at dealing with that potentially most testing of public examinations – the Press Conference. Although the questioning was hardly of the most challenging type – as it seemed that both the manager and the journos were feeling each other out - the Chilean displayed a cool and assured demeanour; the very essence of a man in control, who knows what he’s doing and how to achieve his goals.
It can sometimes test the mettle of the most PR savvy individual when replacing someone for whom there was genuine affection. Perllegrini however wasted very little time in ingratiating himself with the City faithful. Not only did he recognize and acknowledge the importance of beating Manchester rivals, United – “I know that the most important thing for all the fans is to beat Manchester United and if I am here it is because I am sure we will do it." He also illustrated that he had a track record of achieving that very thing when he recalled that "I played against Manchester United twice in the Champions League with Villarreal. In both years we got to the last 16, and they didn’t." It was astute, well-planned and immaculately delivered. Just for good measure though, he delivered the sort of compliment that all fans like to hear by saying that the club’s fans was one of the reasons he chose to join the club. “This club has incredible fans,” he said. “Playing in the Premier League or the third division, the fans are always together with the team."
Of course, we have every reason to expect ‘slick’ when the front man of a multi-millionaire company fronts up for the press, but this was somewhat more than that. Calm, assured and without any apparent undercurrent of latent volcano temperament, Pellegrini appeared comfortable and confident. Clearly, there’s talking the talk, then there’s the need to walk the walk. First part done. The second will be interesting to watch.