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Forlan not surprised at success Manchester City’s Pellegrini and Aguero are enjoying in England

Uruguayan went from strength to strength with Pellegrini at Villarreal and Aguero at Atletico Madrid
Diego Forlan, left, celebrates a goal with Atletico Madrid teammate Sergio Aguero. Andrea Comas / Reuters
Diego Forlan, left, celebrates a goal with Atletico Madrid teammate Sergio Aguero. Andrea Comas / Reuters

Diego Forlan sees both his former manager and strike partner face Barcelona on Tuesday in Manchester, a city he used to call home.

The Uruguayan played under Manuel Pellegrini and with Sergio Aguero. He is not surprised at how well both are doing for the English side.

“Pellegrini understood his players,” Forlan says of the manager who relaunched his career at Villarreal after a frustrating time at Manchester United. “‘Be calm tomorrow,’” he said to me before a big match. ‘Don’t be anxious.’ Simple, soothing and yet effective words, like hearing a doctor say that you will be OK. Because I trusted him, I believed him.

“One day, I stayed behind after training to practise shooting. I saw Pellegrini watching and, after a while, went to speak to him.

“‘Why do they call you the engineer?’ I asked. He told me about his life as an engineer in his home city of Santiago, combining his studies with being a footballer and working on buildings.

“I asked him about earthquakes as Santiago has suffered large ones. He explained that working on buildings in an earthquake area was another challenge in a tough job, but that he had worked on two buildings which had survived earthquakes. He was proud of that.

“There was no chance of him leaving anything he did to chance, either as an engineer or a coach.”

Forlan moved to Atletico Madrid, where he added another European Golden Boot to the one he had won at Villarreal. In Madrid, he formed a formidable partnership with Sergio Aguero.

“Kun [Aguero] is strong, quick and has a natural instinct for scoring goals. Nice guy too. We linked up really well and were one of the best attacks in Europe,” Forlan says. “We were part of a group of players who changed the mentality at Atletico.

“We didn’t believe all the rubbish about the club being cursed and always failing. We didn’t fail. Everyone said Atleti had the players to be a good team, but not a great one.”

“Kun’s doing really well in England and so is Pellegrini,” Forlan added. “That doesn’t surprise me. Though had you told me 10 years ago that one of the best managers in the world and one of the best coaches in the world would be doing well at Manchester City, that would have surprised me.”

sports@thenational.ae

Updated: February 17, 2014 04:00 AM

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