MANUEL Pellegrini insists he will still be in charge of Manchester City at the start of next season after the deposed champions ended the campaign with a 2-0 victory over Southampton.
A sixth consecutive win ensured Pellegrini’s side rounded off the season in impressive form and, with chairperson Khaldoon Al Mubarak on hand at Eastlands for Sunday, the City manager played down suggestions he could face a difficult meeting with his employer after surrendering the title to Chelsea and failing to win a trophy this term.
“I’m always talking with Khaldoon every week,” he said. “I don’t need a special meeting with him.
“Of course when you finish the season you must analyse what we did, where we made mistakes and where we must improve, but we have very good communication.”
The game marked a farewell to English football for City’s former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, who opened the scoring with the 259th goal of his club career.
Sergio Aguero, with his 26th league goal of the season, wrapped up City’s victory late on, but the focus was very much on Lampard, who joins New York City FC after a near 20-year career in English football.
“I spoke before the game with the whole squad and said it was important to finish the season here with a win in front of our own fans,” said Pellegrini.
“But it was also important for Frank. He deserves the farewell all the people, our fans, gave him … It was also very important for him to score.
“It was the perfect afternoon, the perfect goodbye for him and he deserves it, for his brilliant career, and the fact he is a great person.”
Lampard himself was clearly emotional when his two daughters and father, former West Ham player Frank senior, came on to the field during post-match ceremonies and presented him with a framed City shirt. “I couldn’t have wished for anything else. I’m proud of all of it,” Lampard said.
“For a young boy with a dream to play in the Premier League, to go to my home-town club West Ham and then go to Chelsea and win everything, it doesn’t get better.
“I’m a lucky boy, to come to a big club like this for a season, I’ve made a lot of friends.”
While Lampard will play in the MLS from July, the futures of two of his fellow City midfielders, Yaya Toure and James Milner, are far less certain.
Milner is out of contract and weighing up his future with Liverpool reportedly interested in him, while Toure’s outspoken agent has already claimed his client wants to leave.
“We will see, not only with those two names, who will stay here,” Pellegrini said.
“James said he would take a decision at the end of the season and it just depends on what he wants to do with his future.
“We must respect that. He is a very important player and gave us a lot of spirit the whole year, but he must decide his future.” — AFP