City were well placed to win a second Premier League title in three seasons when the affable Chilean announced on 1 February that he would be replaced by Pep Guardiola at the end of the season.
Since then the Blues have won only six of their 14 league matches, meaning Guardiola could arrive from Bayern Munich without Champions League football to plan for.
Pellegrini has led City to League Cup victory this season and taken them into the Champions League semi-final. But the solemn expression of chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak at the final whistle said everything - finishing fifth is not acceptable for the club's mega-rich Abu Dhabi owners
Former Leicester midfielder Robbie Savage on BBC Radio 5 live
"Who'd have thought at the start of this season that Manchester City might finish outside the top four?
"It will be an absolute disaster for City as a football club if they do not qualify for the Champions League this season."