MANCHESTER: A manager is in serious trouble when his colleagues begin to agitate against him being sacked. Such pleas from Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho and West Ham’s Sam Allardyce represent the near-certainty that Manuel Pellegrini is halfway out of the door at Manchester City.
A 2-0 win at home to West Ham pushed fourth-placed City seven points clear of fifth-placed Liverpool but did not halt the guessing game around Pellegrini’s successor which has been gathering pace since Barcelona knocked City out of the Champions League second round.
Initial preference, for City’s ex-Barcelona executive Soriano Ferran, has always been Pep Guardiola. But the sudden arrival of Jurgen Klopp on the market has shifted the focus of speculation from Munich to Dortmund.
Unrest within the City dressing room has been exacerbated by the trouble-making Dimitri Seluk, agent of veteran midfielder Yaya Toure.
Seluk commented in midweek: “Some people at City are trying to blame Yaya for what has happened this season. But those people aren’t taking responsibility for their own mistakes.
“I am talking about executives who have bought players for a lot of money and then put those players on the bench. Executives who spend a lot of money on Stevan Jovetic and then drop him from the Champions League squad.
“I feel sorry for Pellegrini. He’s a good coach but a weak manager. He won the title with the team left behind by Roberto Mancini.”
Pellegrini stays in charge for the time being thanks to a comfortable victory over a West Ham team who proved their own worst enemies. James Collins shot an own goal past his own keeper from 18m after 18 minutes before Sergio Aguero scored another after 36min on a return pass from Jesus Navas.
Aguero’s goal was his 101st for City in all competitions and converted him into the Premier League’s 20-goal leading marksman.
Hammers never threatened seriously to spoil Joe Hart’s 28th birthday. The only upset for City was seeing David Silva carried off unconscious after being flatted by an elbow from Cheikhou Kouyate.
A threatened mass boycott by Newcastle fans of their game against Tottenham failed to materialise. But anger at owner Mike Ashley and his reluctance to fund big-money transfers will only intensify after a 3-1 home defeat which saw fans streaming out of St James’ Park long before the final whistle.
Jack Colback equalised an early strike from Nacer Chadli but a trademark Christian Eriksen free kick restored Spurs’ lead and Harry Kane joined Sergio Aguero as top league marksmen with his 20th goal of term.
Only some fine saves from Tim Krul restricted the margin of a victory which lifted Spurs back above Liverpool into fifth place.