Old foe Pellegrini's big spending City MUST win the Premier League, teases Mourinho

By Chris Wheeler and Sami Mokbel

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Jose Mourinho has never been particularly kind about Manuel  Pellegrini. When he succeeded the Chilean at Real Madrid in 2010, Mourinho said disparagingly that he would never follow in his predecessor’s footsteps and leave the Bernabeu for a small club like Malaga.

When it was mentioned that  Pellegrini had set a new points record at Real despite finishing runners-up in his one season in Madrid, Mourinho countered: ‘Coming second is just finishing the first of those who have finished last.’

So it was no surprise to hear Mourinho up to his old tricks as the Chelsea manager looked forward to the first meeting between the two men in the Barclays Premier League at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Gauntlet down: Chelsea's Jose Mourinho says his Manchester City opponent Manuel Pellegrini should win the title with the squad he has built on to the tune of 100m over the summer transfer window

Gauntlet down: Chelsea's Jose Mourinho says his Manchester City opponent Manuel Pellegrini should win the title with the squad he has built on to the tune of 100m over the summer transfer window

That Pellegrini was one of the names linked with Chelsea before Mourinho’s second coming only adds spice to the occasion.

Instead, he walked into the Etihad Stadium as manager of Manchester City and went on a summer spending spree that was close to 100million.

It was reminiscent of Mourinho’s first season at Chelsea in 2004 before he repaid Roman Abramovich by delivering the title two years in a row.

Now, Mourinho suggests, it is time for Pellegrini to do the same.

Star signings: Pellegrini's top lures since replacing Roberto Mancini at Manchester City include midfielder Ferandinho, winger Jesus Navas (bottom left) and striker Alvaro Negredo (bottom right)

Star signings: Pellegrini's top lures since replacing Roberto Mancini at Manchester City include midfielder Ferandinho, winger Jesus Navas (bottom left) and striker Alvaro Negredo (bottom right)

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‘You have to answer that,’ he told reporters when asked in his weekly press conference about whether City should be favourites to win the league yesterday.

‘You said that in 2004 and 2005, so now it’s up to you to say yes or no. It’s not up to me.

‘They are a very good team, they have two very good teams. One playing and another one on the bench and in the stands.

'A fantastic squad and fantastic players, a really good team. Pellegrini can do well in England and he has the most important thing, which is an unbelievable squad of players.’

Teaser: Despite no shortage of his own multi-million-dollar men, inherited and brought in since his return, and expectations of success from owner Roman Abramovich, Mourinho says the pressure is on Pellegrini

Teaser: Despite no shortage of his own multi-million-dollar men, inherited and brought in since his return, and expectations of success from owner Roman Abramovich, Mourinho says the pressure is on Pellegrini

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New Blues: Marco Van Ginkel (left) and Andre Schurrle (right) are among the new faces Mourinho added to his already star-studded squad at Chelsea, along with Willian and Samuel Eto'o

Mourinho has not inherited a bad bunch either, it has to be said. A conservative estimate values the two squads in opposition tomorrow at over 800m.

The two men in charge could not be more different, however. On one side you have the hot-blooded  Portuguese, mischievous and Machiavellian, and on the other a rather grey Chilean individual with what would appear to be ice in his veins.

Pellegrini could not have done more to play down the rivalry between the pair yesterday, even though he did not deny that he was in the running to take over at  Stamford Bridge before Mourinho got the job.

‘I can’t confirm that because my agent talked with a lot of clubs,’ he said. ‘I can’t tell you.

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Iceman: Cool, calm Pellegrini refused to bite playful and passionate Mourinho's hook before their Sunday clash

‘I don’t know Mourinho. I know his career. He has his way and I respect him. But there are different ways to play. There are different ways to go about what you say, what you don’t say.

‘We are very different. I’m not  telling you I don’t like Jose. I am a different person with a different style, not only in football.’

Asked about the criticism of him during his time in Spain, he added: ‘I can’t tell you what is in Mourinho’s mind. I can tell you I’ve had a lot of chances to manage different clubs after Real Madrid and I took the decision of my life to go to Malaga. I’m very happy.

‘I never get involved in the moment and I will not get involved now. He worked in Spain, I worked in another club. We played Real Madrid against Malaga. Nothing more, I don’t have any complaint about him.’

Even taking into account the difference in size between Madrid and Malaga, Pellegrini did not have the best record against Mourinho in Spain. His sides won just once in seven games against the Portuguese’s, losing five of them. It started with a 7-0 hammering and ended with a 6-2 defeat.

ronaldo

Heavy artillery: Mourinho had Ronaldo on his side when he faced off in Spain against Pellegrini for the first time in 2011 - the Portugal striker scored a hat-trick for Real Madrid against the Chilean's Malaga in a 7-0 win

Tomorrow’s meeting between the second and fourth-placed teams in the Barclays Premier League promises to be altogether more evenly matched.

‘We are going to play our game and let’s see if that’s enough,’ said Mourinho, whose Chelsea side are a point ahead of City and just two behind leaders Arsenal.

‘At this moment, with the way the Premier League is going week after week, I think no result will put a team in a great situation and no result will put a team in a difficult situation.

‘Every weekend somebody loses points. Some weekends, more than one of the top teams lose points. The league is hard. At this stage, in mid-October, I don’t think one game is going to be crucial.’

For once the two men agreed. ‘It’s an important game but it will decide nothing,’ said Pellegrini, who is weighing up whether to give Martin Demichelis his debut in central defence after learning that City will once again be without their injured captain, Vincent Kompany.

Martin Demichelis
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Depth: Argentina international Martin Demichelis (left) is in line to debut in place of Vincent Kompany (right)

‘We have a lot of games in the future. It is not the important game of the year.

‘But, of course, it is an important moment, playing against a team that have a lot of chance to win the Premier League.

‘I repeat the same thing I said when we played against Manchester United, it is a match of six points.’

So, when it’s all over, would he join Mourinho for an after-match drink?

‘No problem,’ said the City manager. But you suspect it isn’t going to happen.

 

The comments below have not been moderated.

Scott, Manchester- The reason there's not many comments on here is most of the pr***s like you are posting elsewhere.

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mouriho was succesful with chelsea because he spent alot of money. he was succesful with inter milan because he inherited mancini's squad. and despite inheriting an amazing pellegrini squad at real madrid, mourinho achieved very little. he was a flop. got sacked. thought he'd go to united but ferguson didnt give him the job. you will all see how bad mourinho is , as a manager.

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Mourinho has spent millions upon millions of dollars on players. It is very ironic of him to say something like this.

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Manchester United have allocated a section of their ground to people who want to sing it is called the singing section for people who want to sing you get a song sheet as well they all stand together so they can hear each other they sing sing songs off the song sheet some of them can't read though so they just copy the others.

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my classmate's step-sister makes $85/hr on the computer. She has been fired from work for six months but last month her paycheck was $20225 just working on the computer for a few hours. useful content... www.Buzz19.com

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Appears to be no ill feeling between these two men. Just the media hoping to stir it up into a personality war but, Pellegrini really is the the ice man and wouldn't get involved. The two managers' style of play is opposite to their personalities. Mourinho with his solid, at times dour, counter attacking and Pellegrini with his high tempo all out attacking style contradicts their personalities. Should be a fantastic game. The blues of Manchester will reign supreme at the bridge. CTID

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The two richmen's playthings playing each other and 21 comments between you? Laughable! You can have all the money but can't buy interest. Red arrow all you like you know it is true.

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scott only glory hunting plastic's look at the amount of comments a team gets..and what is there to say before the game other than good luck?..i dare say by the end of the season you will be a blue

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Scotty, my dear chap, your festering jealousy is the thing that's laughable. You're obviously interested enough to leave a comment. Dry your eyes, there's a good lad.

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If city don't win the premiership this season it will count as a disaster after all the money they have spent

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City's main concern is their defense, I genuinely hope that we open with 2 quality center back's and not Garcia. Also Fernandinho is getting into his stride and must say he is almost up to his 95% ability (was the best player in the defensive mid-fielder position in both everton and west ham matches) while Zabaleta is awesome(the second best right back in Europe), the left back position worries me a bit. Kolarov who it seems is 10 times the player last season is almost perfect going forward (in fact probably has the best crosses than any left back) but defensively has to bring himself just upto the mark, but looking at his continued progress, I don't see why that can't happen. There was a reason he was called Serbian 'Roberto Carlos' with teams suchas Madrid and Juventus interested in him. Hopefully Manuel can get the best out of him as Clichy has just become the same player he was at his last season at Arsenal.

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Jose doesn't really operate on a shoe string budget does he?

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Why should he when he has the money at his disposal? many clubs wish they had deep pockets to strengthen their teams.

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He does, it's just a very long string.

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