Sunday 21 December 2014

Manuel Pellegrini: We have best squad in Premier League

Manchester City v Liverpool, Monday, 8pm

Published 24/08/2014 | 20:01

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini is convinced the champions still boast the strongest squad in the Barclays Premier League. City face an early test as they host last season's runners-up, Liverpool, at the Etihad Stadium on Monday.

Pellegrini's summer recruitment has been modest in comparison to that of Chelsea - who have assumed the mantle of favourites - while Liverpool have been highly active in transfer market.

But City were already in a position of strength and while Pellegrini expects improvement from all the title rivals, he has complete faith in his men to deliver again.

The Chilean said: "I think we always have to be better, we have to improve every season. It doesn't matter what happens with the other squads.

"Here in the Premier League you always have four or five strong teams that can win the title and if we want to continue winning titles, of course, we must improve.

"But I always say my players are the best players in the Premier League and we have the strongest squad, not only attackers but also defending, and in the whole squad.

Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard

"Other teams also have strong squads but if you are analysing the players I prefer mine."

City have bolstered their squad with the additions of defenders Eliaquim Mangala and Bacary Sagna, midfielder Fernando and goalkeeper Willy Caballero.

England midfielder Frank Lampard, on loan from sister club New York City, can temporarily provide an extra option.

Pellegrini hopes that competition for places has also intensified up front with Stevan Jovetic, a £22million signing last summer, looking sharp after an injury-marred first season at the club.

The selection headaches that could result are something that Pellegrini is looking forward to.

He said: "As a manager, the most difficult decisions are when you don't have players.

"When you have good players it's easy because when you have so many games in the season you need to change them.

"Normally we will play around eight matches a month so it doesn't matter. It's important to win titles."

City opened their title defence with a 2-0 win at Newcastle last week but are still to get up to full speed.

Sergio Aguero, who came off the bench to score at St James' Park, is one of a number of players still not rated as match-fit after delayed summer breaks due to the World Cup.

Mangala, who is still to make his debut after his £32million signing from Porto, has again been ruled out. The game may also come too soon for Lampard.

Right-backs Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta are also still to feature but are in contention.

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