Pellegrini came in for criticism for selecting a youthful team almost completely devoid of recognizable names for City’s trip to Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup fifth round, which saw Chelsea win 5-1.
But City’s stars returned in a Champions League victory at Dynamo Kiev last week before edging Liverpool 3-1 on penalties in Sunday’s League Cup final at Wembley after the match had finished 1-1 following extra time.
“I think the decision I took last week was very important to win these two games, mid-week in the Champions League and tonight (Sunday) to win the trophy,” said Pellegrini, who previously led City to League Cup glory in 2014.
“It was a difficult decision for me not to continue in the FA Cup, because we won the first two games in that cup 3-0 (against Norwich City) and 4-0 (against Aston Villa), but with 13 or 14 players, it was very important to keep them fresh.”
Goalkeeper Willy Caballero, who deputizes for Joe Hart in cup competitions, was City’s hero at Wembley, repelling spot-kicks from Lucas Leiva, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana in the shootout.
Coutinho had taken the tie to extra time with an 83rd-minute equalizer, after Fernandinho had put City in front early in the second half with a shot that went through Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.
Pellegrini resisted calls to recall Hart and claimed afterwards that he would rather have lost the match than break his promise to Caballero, who followed him from Malaga to the Etihad Stadium in 2014.
“I’d rather lose the title than lose my word,” he said, adding that Hart had shown he was a “good person” by supporting his deputy.
Caballero, 34, revealed in a tearful post-match interview that his shootout saves had been the product of “intuition” and Pellegrini praised the Argentine for not committing himself too early.
Despite his impending departure, Pellegrini said that he was not thinking about things from a personal perspective and voiced hope that Sunday’s triumph would prove a spur to success in the Premier League and Champions League.
– ‘Silly idiots’ –
“I’m not thinking about me, I’m thinking about the club,” said the Chilean, whose side trail league leaders Leicester City by nine points with a game in hand.