The Sweeper: Pellegrini handed Manchester City seal of approval

The Chilean has endured a hit and miss start to his tenure at the Etihad Stadium but has received assurances from the club's hierarchy, while Joe Hart could return in midweek

Despite an indifferent start to his Manchester City tenure Manuel Pellegrini's revolution has been given the seal of approval by the club’s owners.

The Chilean, who joined the Premier League club from Malaga in the summer, spent last week in Abu Dhabi, where he met with Sheikh Mansour and chairman Khaldoon al Mubarak.

He was accompanied by director of football Txiki Begiristain, the man responsible for identifying Pellegrini as Roberto Mancini's replacement.

The 60-year-old has overseen a change in playing philosophy which has seen City lead the way in the Premier League goalscoring charts.

While the standard of football has undoubtedly improved since the tail end of Mancini’s reign, which reached its nadir during the FA Cup final defeat against Wigan last May, City currently trail Premier League leaders Arsenal by nine points.

Pellegrini’s side, who invested in over £100m worth of new playing talent over the close season, have been particularly vulnerable away from home having lost four times already, but the power brokers are more than comfortable with how things are progressing - both on and off the pitch.

Both Pellegrini and Mansour believe the team will hit top gear soon and are delighted to have progressed to the next stages of the Champions League for the first time.

So much so, Pellegrini has been told substantial funds are available for top targets in January. The club are monitoring St Etienne centre-half Kurt Zouma and still maintain an interest in Porto’s defensive duo Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala.


Joe Hart could be brought in from the cold next week for Manchester City's Champions League clash at home to Viktoria Plzen.

City have already qualified with two games to spare and the players believe their team-mate will get the nod to boost his confidence levels.

Hart was dropped by Manuel Pellegrini following a string of high profile errors and has missed his club side’s last two matches – a 7-0 win over Norwich and 1-0 defeat at Sunderland.

The England international is categorically not for sale but the club are actively scouting a number of goalkeepers, including Malaga’s Willy Caballero and Inter’s Francesco Bardi (on loan at Livorno), with a view to providing the 26-year-old with greater competition than he is currently receiving from Costel Pantilimon.

Hart returned to action for England on Tuesday evening where his performance in a 1-0 defeat against Germany provided the one bright note in an otherwise disappointing week for Roy Hodgson’s side.