English Premiership

Pellegrini hopes City learn title lessons

2015-08-28 12:14
Manuel Pellegrini (File)

Manchester - Manuel Pellegrini has challenged his Manchester City stars to prove they have learned the lessons of last season's failure to retain the Premier League title.

Three games into the new league season, leaders City are the last remaining side with a perfect record: three wins, eight goals scored and none conceded.

This has come as a surprise to those who witnessed their decidedly unconvincing pre-season form, but it would appear that the players have answered Pellegrini's call for consistency.

City's title challenge failed last season because of a tendency to drop points against mid-table sides; for that reason, Saturday's match against an awkward Watford side lying 12th is likely to provide an indicator of their progress.

"We analysed what happened last season," Pellegrini said. "It wasn't a disaster because we finished second and we were the team who scored the most goals, but we were not consistent through the whole year.

"We lost points against teams who were fighting relegation, so I think after three games you can see we have learned those lessons.

"It is only August and we finish in May, so it is important to keep playing, working and thinking in the same way as we are doing."

Pellegrini has been helped by significant spending on the squad over the close-season, and there may be more to come.

Nicolas Otamendi, signed from Valencia, is available to make his debut at centre-back, having missed last Sunday's 2-0 win at Everton because his international clearance did not come through in time.

Otamendi's price tag, which could rise to 32 million with add-ons, makes him the second-most expensive central defender in Premier League history, and yet there is no guarantee he will start.

That is because the costliest, Eliaquim Mangala, currently holds a first-team place at City, and has finally started to find form alongside Vincent Kompany after a poor first campaign in England.

Pellegrini is not a fan of playing a three-man central defence, so there is a tricky decision to be made, both for Saturday and in the weeks ahead.

Discussions, meanwhile, are continuing with Wolfsburg to try to bring in Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, although it appears unlikely that any deal would be ready in time for the weekend's game; and it may yet be that a deal is not done at all.

As it stands, City are well placed to push on without De Bruyne; Yaya Toure looks rejuvenated, while Sergio Aguero and David Silva have both started the season in fine form.

Pellegrini's side will feel they are well placed for a club-record 10th successive league victory.


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