Manuel Pellegrini won Manchester City a title and had the fifth-highest win percentage of any manager in Premier League history when he was unceremoniously dispatched in order to make way for Pep Guardiola to take charge in 2016.
As such, one might expect the current West Ham manager to harbour some degree of enmity towards his former employers. Pellegrini, though, says that along with getting the result for West Ham, he wants to do his old club a favour.
“If we win, I will be very happy for our club first,” he said ahead of his side’s tie against league leaders Liverpool. “After that, if we can give a hand to Manchester City—it’s not our problem but of course I am a fan of Manchester City.”
City closed the gap to Liverpool to two with their victory over Arsenal on Sunday and with the league season now at its two-thirds mark, ending the round there instead of with it back to five would be significant for their title chances.
For Liverpool, on the other hand, it’s a chance to re-stretch their lead to five and show that they can hold their nerve despite playing second this round against an opponent that, on paper at least, they appear clear favourites against.
And last but not least, for Pellegrini and West Ham, no matter any fondness for City the only real concern can be a chance for them to push on into the top half of the league table as the season nears the final stretch.