Sunday 22 January 2017

Pellegrini holds no fears over Chelsea domination

City boss insists Mourinho will not have it so easy in the next campaign

Paul Wilson

Published 03/05/2015 | 02:30

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini
Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini

Manuel Pellegrini has congratulated Chelsea on winning the Premier League but warned Jose Mourinho it will not be as easy to retain the title next season.

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Since the last war only six managers have achieved consecutive title success in England and Mourinho happens to be one of them, though the Manchester City manager believes the competition is getting more intense with each passing year.

"In England you always have four or five very strong teams with the same power of money so it is not easy for a team to retain its title," Pellegrini said. "Maybe as champions you also relax a little the next season. I am not just talking about our team, it is the same for all the top clubs in the Premier League. It is different in France or Spain where you only have two teams who can win it. If the title has only been retained six times in 70 years it suggests it is difficult. We found it so this season and I think it will be the same for Chelsea next time. All the clubs are receiving more money and buying up the big players."

The Chelsea manager, like Pellegrini, won the title in his first season in England, something many analysts at the time believed impossible. He followed it up with a second league success in 2005-06 before things began to go awry in his third season, though Mourinho remains one of only two managers to win back-to-back English titles in the Champions League era, when competition at the top of the league became a little more fierce.

Alex Ferguson is the other, with a stunning half dozen consecutive wins which make it difficult to argue one-team domination is a thing of the past, but Pellegrini does not believe the Premier League is set up to allow continued success for any one team.

"Maybe Liverpool and Manchester United at their peak were the two biggest teams in England, but there is more competition now," he said. "Right now Chelsea, City, United and Arsenal are all strong, and you have Liverpool and Tottenham trying to build up their strength. These are all good teams with big squads and good managers, I don't think it is going to be easy for any one club to stay ahead of the rest in the way they did in the past."

Mourinho may have something to say about that next season, when the Premier League's reputation for competitiveness will surely be damaged if Chelsea win again by such a wide margin. United had a reasonable excuse this season, but Arsenal took far too long to look convincing, and even though City moved up to second place by virtue of beating Aston Villa last week, Pellegrini cannot be happy about being 13 points off the pace.

"Our team did not achieve anything, so it has been a bad season," he said before today's trip to Tottenham. "If we finish second it is better than finishing lower down, but it still means one team did it better than you. Chelsea have been the best team, they deserved to win, and I congratulate them.

"You can be happy with second if you have won the FA Cup or the League Cup or done well in the Champions League, but we did not do any of that, so it's been a bad season. We must look what needs to be done to try to win the title again next season."

Louis van Gaal said last week that United were already busy with next season. You would expect it to be no different at City, though beyond stating the obvious, that big clubs always need to bring in big players every couple of years, Pellegrini will not discuss specific targets, budgets or areas of weakness before the end of the season. He does agree that one or two English players may have to be recruited this summer if James Milner, Frank Lampard and Micah Richards all leave at the same time, as seems likely.

"All the English teams need English players and they all want the best ones, so there is big competition and the price is high," he said. "The reason foreign players are so attractive is because there are more of them, but I cannot talk about that now. We will do all our analysing at the end of the season."

The six managers who have won consecutive titles since 1945 are, reading backwards from the most recent: Ferguson, Mourinho, Bob Paisley, Stan Cullis, Matt Busby and Bob Jackson.

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