Manuel Pellegrini regrets announcing Manchester City exit early

Manuel Pellegrini admits he has regrets about deciding to announce that he would leave Manchester City before the end of the season.

The Chilean believes the timing of the announcement -- which he revealed at a news conference on Feb. 1 with the club confirming that he would be replaced by Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola in the summer shortly after -- had a big impact on City's Premier League title challenge, which fell away in the final months of the season.

At the time, his side were just three points behind Leicester City in the Premier League table, but City won just six of their remaining 15 games to finish fourth -- 15 points behind the champions.

Pellegrini says it was his decision to announce his departure in the summer after Guardiola had said he would be moving to England having turned down a new contract offer at Bayern.

"Yes, it was my decision," he told The Guardian. "After Guardiola said he was coming to England it was my decision because all the media was talking about Guardiola here, Guardiola in Arsenal, Guardiola in Manchester United. It was not fair for all managers -- when everyone knew he was coming here.

"If I ask if I would do that again -- I have some doubts. Yes, I am very self-critical about what I do. Always. I don't want to use [this] as an excuse but it was so difficult to work after that. Not for me, for the players.

"It's impossible to know if it was the right decision. But when you see the consequence of losing immediately three games in a row, when you are winning the last five or something.

"The most difficult thing in a group is when you break something. Something was broken in that moment so, as I say, the complete glass is broken. Then, you must try to rearrange it."

Pellegrini also believes that injuries had an effect on derailing City's title challenge -- particularly the knee ligament blow to Kevin De Bruyne that ruled the Belgium international out for more than two months.

Skipper Vincent Kompany and playmaker David Silva also missed much of the final few months of the season but Pellegrini believes De Bruyne was the biggest loss with City winning just two of the seven Premier League games they played without him in February and March.

"Absolutely decisive," he said of the Belgian's absence. "But as a manager what can you do? Say we cannot play without Kevin De Bruyne? What will all the other players think?

"When you keep the ball so well as Kevin it's very difficult to be a bad player but he must improve and will.

"He has to play a bit more with care, not to [misplace] so many passes. He has so good technique, in one or two years more he will have better decisions with the last pass."

Pellegrini has been linked with the vacant jobs at Everton and Zenit St Petersburg, but he admitted he may even retire if he doesn't get a good opportunity to continue in management.

"If I don't have a really interesting option I will stop until I find one," he added. "If I have to stop [completely], I will stop.

"It can be now, [until] December, one year or for ever. Of course, I would miss it. The challenge keeps me alive."