Manuel Pellegrini has dismissed suggestions Manchester City are already out of the title race, insisting his side still have time to catch Chelsea.
The Blues edged out Liverpool to win a second title in three years last season, in what was Pellegrini’s debut campaign in England. It could be argued their summer signings weren’t particularly inspiring, but given the strength of the squad already assembled at the Etihad Stadium, the champions began the 2014-15 term as many pundits favourites to win the league again.
However, City have made a fairly average start, winning six of their opening 11 matches and already losing twice, meaning they are already eight points adrift of pacesetters Chelsea. So impressive have Jose Mourinho’s side been that some have suggested they will win the title at a canter, but Pellegrini insists it would be foolish to write him and his players off just yet.
“Now is not the moment to analyse what has happened. There are a lot of games to play in the Premier League and the [UEFA] Champions League,” Pellegrini, speaking after being inducted in the League Managers Association Hall of Fame, told Sky Sports HQ. “We have 27 more games to play and there are a lot of points, so we will see at the end who will be the best team this year.”
One player who has yet to show his best form in the sky blue shirt is Fernando, who joined from FC Porto in the summer for around £12million. The 27-year-old has started just five times for City but could be more involved when Yaya Toure heads off to the African Cup of Nations in January, when the Brazilian will be ready to take advantage of any Chelsea slip-ups.
“Of course Chelsea is the team that is best placed and playing better, but we know that all teams within the league fluctuate greatly,” said Fernando. “We did not start well, we had some difficulties, but we know that at any time Chelsea will also go through these difficulties and then we have to work to stay as close as possible. The rivalry is big, Chelsea will try to keep away and we just have to work.”
City resume their Premier League bid on Saturday afternoon when they host Swansea City, a match which they won 3-0 last season. Their cause for another three points this weekend has been boosted by news that their influential captain, Vincent Kompany, could be available after recovering from the knock which kept him out of Belgium’s goalless draw with Wales on Sunday night.
Is Pellegrini right, or are Chelsea just too strong for their rivals this season? Let us know what you think by joining in with the discussion below.