Pellegrini rips City after FA Cup shock
MANUEL Pellegrini, the Manchester City manager, accused his players of complacency after their shock 2-1 home FA Cup quarter-final defeat by holders Wigan on Sunday.
City's dreams of an unprecedented quadruple - or at least a domestic treble - were buoyed by collecting the League Cup at Wembley against Sunderland last week.
But against Championship side Wigan, who beat City in last year's final and are managed by former City player Uwe Rosler, they paid for a poor first-half display and lazy defending, and even with a fine second-half goal from Samir Nasri and a late fightback, the hosts could not force a replay.
"It was the worst we have played here in a year," said Pellegrini.
"We didn't have the pace to play against a team that is in a very good moment.
"We knew before the match we were going to play against a difficult team and maybe we thought it was not so difficult, and when we reacted, it was too late."
He then turned his attention to tomorrow, when City travel to Barcelona needing to retrieve a two-goal deficit in the second leg of their last-16 tie to stand any chance of Champions League glory.
"We are in the last part of the season, but it's very important to react," the Chilean told BT Sport.
"We must go to Barcelona and try to continue in the Champions League, although it will be difficult.
"It's important for a big team, when you have a setback, you have to react quickly."
City are fourth in the Premier League, nine points behind leaders Chelsea, but have three games in hand as a result of their recent Cup commitments.
"I will repeat what I have said (all season)," Pellegrini said. "We are going to try to win every match we play and we will see who scores more points in the Premier League."
The Chilean denied that he left first-choice regulars Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany and Aleksandar Kolarov on the bench against Wigan with one eye on the Barcelona game, although that was an obvious conclusion to reach.
"They didn't play today because we are always making rotations in the Cup and Premier League, and because they played for 90 minutes for their national teams on Wednesday," he said. "It was important for them to have a rest."
However, Pellegrini denied that he felt the players had let him down in such a vital contest. "No, we all work together, we all have a responsibility to win," he said.
Rosler said the victory, courtesy of goals from Jordi Gomez and James Perch, was the best moment in his managerial career.
"Is this my greatest day in management? Probably," he said. "This was my chance to partially replicate what Roberto Martinez did last season (when Wigan upset City in the FA Cup final in May).
"Everyone knows my tie to Man City, but I'm happy and excited to be manager of Wigan Athletic. Our main focus is getting to the play-offs."