One of the secrets to Manuel Pellegrini’s sustained success as a football manager has been the demands he puts on himself.
Pellegrini has always set the highest of standards, working relentlessly to ensure his positive, winning mentality and style are understood by his staff and his players.
That is why Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup fourth-round defeat at EFL League One strugglers AFC Wimbledon cut the Chilean so deep.
For a man whose teams have won Premier League titles and regularly qualified for UEFA Champions League football, the performance of his West Ham United at Kingsmeadow was simply unacceptable.
Football offers managers, coaches and players a chance at redemption, however, and for Pellegrini, his staff and his squad, that will come in the Premier League at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday evening.
Motivation in football is very important, so that is why it is one of the responsibilities of the manager. The first responsibility is mine
“It was my fault that I could not motivate them to understand that playing against a League One team is not a game you win before you play,” said the manager, reflecting further on Saturday’s shock defeat to the Dons. “You must win in the 95 minutes during the game.
“This is not the first time this has happened and there have been many other games when exactly the same has happened to teams.
“Motivation in football is very important, so that is why it is one of the responsibilities of the manager. The first responsibility is mine.
“The players play the game, of course, but we have only 15 players who have played all the games over the last two months. In this case, they were not able to do it.”
Pellegrini held his regular post-match review session at Rush Green on Saturday but he knows that dwelling on a disappointing and subpar performance will not help his team get in the right mindset for a trip to Molineux.
“Always, when we finish a game, the next day before we start the next training session, we always talk for five minutes about that game,” he revealed. “It doesn’t matter if we’ve won or lost.
“But, after that, the most important thing is we must turn the page because, in football, you always have another game.
“Football always gives you revenge, if you win or lose. If you win, as we did against Arsenal, you cannot keep that mind that you think you will win again because the next opponent is not as good as Arsenal [because then you will be caught out, as we were at Bournemouth].
“That’s football. Football is the most popular sport in the world because there are a lot of things involved in results.”