Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini saw his side blown away 4-2 by Manchester United at Old Trafford despite taking an early lead and having won the last four derbies.
They have now lost six of their last eight games and their realistic hopes of retaining the Premier League title are over with leaders Chelsea 12 points ahead of fourth-placed City.
Chilean Pellegrini always manages to retain a calm demeanour and it worked wonders when his side stayed cool to snatch the Premier League title off Liverpool last year.
This season, though, that same mild-mannered approach seems completely amiss when hard truths and a good old-fashioned rollicking appear more appropriate for an aging side who look like they never played together before.
Two-goal Sergio Aguero apart, City played nothing like one of the most expensively-assembled squads on the planet and though some blame lies in the boardroom for questionable recruitment, Pellegrini must also shoulder responsibility.
His comments after the derby will hardly fill City fans with confidence with the champions at risk of dropping out of the top four, just as United did last season having won the title in Alex Ferguson's final campaign the term before.
“It is very difficult to be in fourth place. We have difficult teams in the Premier League,” Pellegrini told reporters.
“We must fight until the end of the season. For the club, for me, for the players it is very important to be in a position for the Champions League. We have six games more to try to do it. We had been in second place all season.”
If he wants to look at recent history to see what fate might befall him at the end of the season, Pellegrini need only look back at what happened to former City boss Roberto Mancini.
The Italian won the title in 2012 but was axed at the end of the following season having finished second and not progressed in the Champions League.
Pellegrini did get City out of the group stage in Europe this year but they were outclassed by Barcelona in the last 16 and their season has plummeted since, to such a degree that he is in a worse position than Mancini before the Italian was axed.
His back four was particularly woeful against United with Ashley Young getting two attempts at scoring from close range for the first and serial aerial threat Marouane Fellaini having a free header for the second.
Juan Mata was afforded the freedom of Old Trafford for the third and Chris Smalling was totally unmarked to head in the fourth.
The fact captain and centre back Vincent Kompany went off at halftime hardly mattered as the Belgian has not been himself recently and his replacement Eliaquim Mangala has done nothing to justify his 32 million-pound ($46.8 million) arrival in August. – Reuters
Original source: Pressure mounting on Pellegrini