Manuel Pellegrini has vowed to give Manchester City the perfect parting gift of a Champions League place at the expense of Manchester United, while champions Leicester will bring down the curtain on their astonishing season at Chelsea on Sunday.
With a memorable Premier League campaign coming to a conclusion with the final round of fixtures this weekend, the focus is split between the Manchester rivals’ battle for the last spot in Europe’s elite club competition and a fitting finale for Leicester as the fairytale champions bow out at the home of last year’s winners.
For City manager Pellegrini, his side’s trip to Swansea offers an opportunity to leave on a high note as the Chilean prepares to clear his desk ahead of the arrival of Pep Guardiola, who moves to Eastlands from Bayern Munich in the close-season.
Fourth placed City are two points clear of United and, with their goal difference at +30 compared to their fifth placed rivals’ +12, Pellegrini’s side need only to draw in south Wales to qualify for the Champions League and consign their neighbours to the drudgery of the Europa League.
After three years and three trophies with City, Pellegrini would love to say farewell in style.
“We have always been in the Champions League spots for 37 games, so I think we deserve to be there,” Pellegrini said.
“It’s about a style. For me it’s important to be the highest-scoring team for three seasons, to be always in the Champions League and to win three titles.”
United’s 3-2 defeat at West Ham in midweek took their European fate out of their own hands and Louis van Gaal’s men host Bournemouth knowing only a victory, combined with a City defeat at Swansea, will be enough to snatch a top four finish.
Despite the unpromising situation, United midfielder Michael Carrick, whose side face Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final on May 21, urged his team-mates not to coast through the Bournemouth game.
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