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Manuel Pellegrini has revealed that he knew two months after being appointed Real Madrid manager that he was to be sacked.
The Chilean spent just one season in charge at the Santiago Bernabeau and although he guided them to a record points total for the club, the 10-time European champions finished second to Barcelona in La Liga and he was sacked not long after.
However, ahead of his Manchester City side's trip to the Bernabeu to play the second leg of their Champions League semi-final, Pellegrini has claimed that he knew then-new president Florentino Perez planned to fire him as soon as possible.
“I knew in August that I was going to be sacked because he told Villarreal’s president [Fernando Roig] and he told me,” he said.
“It’s an honour to manage Madrid. What happens is when you manage Madrid, you have to have the capacity to accept that the club is not just sporting, it’s really political. And to that extreme, you have to let people interfere who, for me, don’t have the knowledge of football to do so.”
“That’s not me [to identify Perez as the target of his remarks]. If you let people interfere who don’t have football knowledge, it you let yourself be weakened by the criticism that comes from the political side, the sporting side or from personal interests, I don’t think you’re ready.
“I had the fortune to pass one of the most difficult tests in football and it did not change me at all. I always knew that what the players most appreciated from me was to arrive on Monday and for nothing to have changed whether we had lost or won.
"I demanded the same from them, the same concepts, independent of what was being said on the exterior. I never played a player because I was advised by someone else, or if I received more or less criticism. Madrid has its model and it won’t change.”
City and Real played out a scoreless draw at the Etihad on Wednesday and Pellegrini admitted that the tactics of his opponents, who were missing Cristiano Ronaldo through injury, surprised him in their defensive nature.
“I think we had an attitude of trying to win the game. We will try to do exactly the same in Madrid,” he continued.
“But we won’t go to the Santiago Bernabéu for another goalless draw. We will try to get up, press and score a goal, because we always want to score. I also see a more open Madrid. Nobody has scored at the Santiago Bernabeu in the Champions League this season. The statistics are to be broken.”