Manuel Pellegrini Plans Angry Boycott Ahead of Barcelona vs. Manchester City

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2014

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 09:  Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini looks dejected during the FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at the Etihad Stadium on March 9, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is planning to boycott his press responsibilities ahead of his team's game against Barcelona at the Camp Nou, as reported by Jeremy Cross of The Daily Star.

The Chilean is suspended for the match due to a two-match touchline ban dished out by UEFA for criticising first-leg referee Jonas Eriksson after his side were defeated 2-0 at home.

The Etihad team's boss is bound by UEFA rules to attend the scheduled press conferences arranged before and after games and any boycott will surely see further official sanctions taken against him. 

Cross reports:

Pellegrini is protesting at what he believes is unfair treatment from UEFA bosses and is expected to send assistant boss Brian Kidd to the pre-match press conference instead.

BBC Sport reported on the incident from the first-leg at the time: 

Ian Ladyman from The Daily Mail says Pellegrini will address his team two hours before kick-off as he will not be allowed in the dressing room area. 

Ladyman claims the City manager will boycott the press conference to avoid questions about his own personal conduct from the first leg. 

He also highlights that Sir Alex Ferguson was fined £10,000 by UEFA for failing to speak to rights holders last season in the wake of Manchester United's exit at the hands of Real Madrid at Old Trafford.

Pellegrini would surely suffer a similar punishment to Ferguson. 

In the absence of their manager, City's players must try and take the pressure on their own shoulders as they bid to overcome a 2-0 deficit.

Jon Super/Associated Press

Toby Moses of The Guardian quotes Samir Nasri ahead of the game, who says his team must rise to the occasion. After City's shock FA Cup exit at the hands of Wigan Athletic, the French international said:

Thank God we play a big game on Wednesday. It is the best way to forget this game. Tonight maybe it is going to be difficult but from tomorrow at training we are going to think Barcelona and try to think positive and get a result there.

A game like this you cannot not be focused from the start … We can do something fantastic if we change the result. But we have to be focused and take this game as a lesson.

With Manchester City on the verge of another Champions League exit, Pellegrini will be feeling the pressure. However, he should be attempting to avoid rocking the boat ahead of such a key game. It is important that negative focus is deflected away from the Sky Blues, and this is not the way to achieve this. 

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Manager Roberto Mancini of Manchester City looks dejected in defeat after the FA Cup with Budweiser Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on May 11, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/G
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

One of Roberto Mancini's great failings at City was his inability to navigate the choppy waters of European football, and it is vital to Pellegrini's future that he does not appear to have the same issues as the Italian former manager.

City's domestic ambitions, and the actions of their manager, must not compromise their chances in the Champions League in future years.

There will be no shame in a loss to Barcelona, but Pellegrini's actions threaten to tarnish the club's reputation. He must ensure there is no knock-on effect heading into the Champions League for next season. 

If the City manager can control himself he has a much better chance of controlling his players and extracting some positives from this European campaign.