Chilean newspaper La Tercera features today a long interview with manager Manuel Pellegrini.
The 66-year-old has spoken a lot about his last job at West Ham United, as well as the future of his career, the Chilean national team and the politics in his home country.
Pellegrini joined the Hammers in the summer of 2018, spending a year and a half at the club before he was sacked in December 2019 following a run of nine defeats in 14 games.
Quizzed about his departure, he says the club even had a good start in the 2019/20 season, but some problems along the way took the confidence away from the squad, especially the change of goalkeepers.
“The only explanation is that this is football. I returned to England to a challenge. To West Ham, who are usually fight relegation, but who are very big. My intention was to make them grow. We started well; until match seven we had one defeat”, Manuel Pellegrini told La Tercera.
“Unfortunately, we had a major injury, from the goalkeeper, of four months. And the performance of the reserve wasn’t as expected. He had responsibility in several goals. The team was losing confidence, the results were denied and the owners decided to change.”
On how he took the sacking, Pellegrini said there’s one special factor that made him upset: “It hurt me at first. It’s the first time in 20 years that I didn’t finish the season. In all the other clubs, the season was over. In Madrid I didn’t finish my contract, but the season did. I hadn’t stopped in the middle of the season for 20 years”.
He was also asked if the problem was him or his players, but he’d rather take all the guilt.
“In football, the first thing that one must understand is that you always have the responsibility. You can fall into those negative streaks. The players lose confidence and you, as a coach, must find the solution. You don’t always find it and sometimes the board don’t have patience. It has happened to Mourinho, Pochettino, Emery … What happens is that it never happened to me.”
Quizzed if this was the lowest point of his career as a manager, Pellegrini disagrees with it.
“I don’t see it that way. If the season was over and bad, then yes. But one cannot analyse a campaign when it’s cut in less than one half. Logically, if you ask if it’s my worst campaign abroad, I will say yes. Last year we finished tenth and I was bitter. It was the frst time I didn’t qualify for a cup in Europe.”