The old saying goes you can’t buy happiness, but you can buy world class football players and those players will inevitably win their owner the occasional trophy or two. Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini will be relieved that his employers had previously splashed out on talents such as Yaya Toure and Sami Nasri, as their undoubted class helped Pellegrini’s side turn around a one-nil deficit against a resilient Sunderland at Wembley to ultimately win 2-1 and capture the Capital One Cup.
For Pellegrini the trophy represents his first piece of silverware in England, and with his side well positioned in both the Premier League and F.A Cup a domestic treble is not an unachievable target for the Chilean in his first season managing on these shores. After a disastrous first half this afternoon where Fabio Borini did brilliantly to hold off City skipper Vincent Kompany and fire the Black Cats into the lead Pellegrini looked set to cop a fair amount of flack for some unpopular decisions made when it came to picking a team for the first showpiece final on the domestic calendar, not least his choices to select the frighteningly immobile David Demechelis at centre half and number two ‘keeper Costel Pantillimon over regular stopper Joe Hart. Having been out thought and out maneuvered by Jose Mourinho when Chelsea visited the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League last month Pellegrini could well have found himself slapped with the big game choke artist label, a tag that is far easier to attain than to rid oneself of.
Yet when Toure bent a 35-yard effort beyond Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone into the top corner all of Pellegrini’s anxiety could be seen to have evaporated. The tension that could have previously been cut with a knife disappeared in an instant and when Nasri powered his shot home with the outside of his right boot minutes later the game was all but decided. It was an unfortunate defeat for Sunderland and boss Gus Poyet, who must now focus his team’s attentions on their fight for survival in the Premier League, while Pellegrini will know that failing to add another trophy this season on the back of this victory will see the campaign deemed unsuccessful by City’s rightfully demanding owners.
However with the kind of talent he has at his disposal the Chilean is in the enviable position of being able to afford to make questionable tactical decisions. While he was found out by Mourinho in the league he overcame him in the F.A Cup, to his credit, and with Arsenal the only genuine threat to City in that particular competition a domestic cup double will in all likely-hood be achieved. Additionally, should the Citizens win their two games in hand they will find themselves top of the Premier League on goal difference, level on points with Chelsea with ten games of the season remaining. Yet it remains unsurprising that City find themselves in the position they’re in. It’s their good fortune to have masses of cash at their disposal, and when you can afford to leave the likes of Nasri (£22 million) and scorer of their third goal Jesus Navas (£23 million) on the bench then the manager should be able to change the game with a well timed substitution. Sunderland were limited to bringing on Steven Fletcher and Craig Gardner, both commendable Premier League players, in search of a goal but their impact was unlikely to be as great as their City counterparts when you consider the fees that were spent on them in comparison. Money can’t buy you happiness, but if you happen to have £24 million to spend it’ll get you a Yaya Toure. And a few trophies, besides.