Frank Lampard says it’s too soon to judge Manuel Pellegrini

FRANK Lampard concedes the day of reckoning is nigh for Manuel Pellegrini and his under-achieving Manchester City stars, but the veteran former Chelsea midfielder is not prepared to write off his manager just yet.

Frank Lampard says it’s too soon to judge Manuel Pellegrini

A routine victory, aided by a controversial early sending-off for Albion, maintained City’s interest in the title race for a little while longer, at the end of a week in which another embarrassing European exit left huge question marks hanging over the futures of the club’s staff and players.

It was a point not avoided by Lampard but one which the player feels may be premature. Having been involved in numerous such autopsies in his time at Stamford Bridge, Lampard believes any changes at City need to be determined in the summer not now in the midst of an unimpressive title defence.

“I don’t think you can ever make too many calls or judgements at this stage of the season,” said Lampard. “Judgements will be made at the end of the season and that is fair enough.

“At the moment I don’t think it is time to look at players, and ask whether this player or that player, or the manager, will be here next year. I think it is too early for that talk. I think that will take place in the summer.

“We’re not stupid. A club like Man City, same as Chelsea, when you have a design and a responsibility to be fighting at the top of the League year in, year out, I think players and managers are under pressure at all times. I certainly never get caught up in what might happen to the manager. I think it is irrelevant. You have to look at what you do yourself.”

He can look back on a Stamford Bridge career in which one manager, Carlo Ancelotti, won the double and was replaced the following year, such are the high-pressure stakes of working for billionaire owners. But Lampard has been impressed with the nerve Pellegrini has displayed in dealing with his current predicament.

“I think Manuel is very calm. You can see his nature. He is very experienced and can handle all pressures,” said Lampard. “He’s got a good manner and I think it is very important as a top manager that you never look as if the pressure is getting to you and he certainly never gives us that vibe and I don’t think there is any finger-pointing at any individual for the recent form. It is very much a collective thing. I’ve enjoyed working under him.”

This victory, much needed after the demoralising midweek defeat at Barcelona, came courtesy of goals from Wilfried Bony, Fernando and David Silva, and was all but assured inside the opening two minutes when Gareth McAuley was incorrectly dismissed after Craig Dawson had fouled Bony on the edge of the box. Referee Neil Swarbrick later admitted his error and the FA are expected to exchange the red cards today - meaning suspension for Dawson and McAuley being cleared.

Albion’s sense of injustice was compounded, however, by their argument that nobody should have been shown the red card as Dawson was not the last defender when he brought down Bony. “It was the first minute of the game and you look at Bony’s reaction, he tries to play on,” said midfielder Darren Fletcher. “So in that respect, it kills the game.

“Yes, there’s the mistaken identity as well so it was one thing after another really. He red-carded the wrong player. He took his time so in that respect it wasn’t a rash decision. I thought he was taking his time and would realise it wasn’t a clear red card. But no.”

MAN CITY (4-4-2): Hart 6; Zabaleta 6, Kompany 6, Mangala 6, Clichy 6; Navas 7, Fernando 7, Lampard 6 (Jovetic 64, 6), Silva 7 (Milner 81); Bony 8 (Dzeko 77, 6), Aguero 7.

Subs not used: Caballero, Demichelis, Sagna, Fernandinho.

WBA (4-1-4-1): Myhill 9; Dawson 4, McAuley, Olsson 5, Lescott 6; Baird 5; Gardner 5, Fletcher 6, Morrison 7, Sessegnon 4 (Mulumbu 89); Berahino 5 (Anichebe 86).

Subs not used: Rose, Wisdom, Davidson, Pocognoli, Nabi.

Referee: N Swarbrick 4

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