Wednesday 21 February 2018

Premier League will only get harder to win - Manuel Pellegrini

Manuel Pellegrini believes Pep Guardiola faces an increasingly tough challenge
Manuel Pellegrini believes Pep Guardiola faces an increasingly tough challenge

Outgoing Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini expects the challenge of winning the Premier League to get even tougher for big clubs in future.

Pellegrini won the title with City in 2014 but then mounted a disappointing defence the following year and this season's challenge, while unfancied Leicester surprised all to finish top, has been even more underwhelming.

With Pellegrini leaving this summer the task of bringing the crown back to City will lie with Pep Guardiola and the departing boss thinks the Spaniard will find the field even more competitive.

The Chilean said: "The TV rights are increasing every season so every team will have more money to spend on good players. I think all the teams in the Premier League have very good players.

"I also think that it is very important to consider we played around 17 or 18 games more than Leicester this season. It is a lot of games. For the big teams who are involved in Europe they have a double challenge and that is one of the reasons maybe we couldn't be near the leader.

"So first of all Leicester were the best team - they played very well - and the second reason was because we played a lot more games. And the third reason when you continue in Champions League - we continued to the semi-finals - that was a disadvantage.

"You can want that but your mind is in both parts and it is difficult to try to reach the first four spots of the Premier League.

"That is the reason why every year the Premier League will be closer between more teams."

So inconsistent have City been this season they are not even guaranteed to be playing Champions League football when Guardiola takes charge. They must avoid defeat in their final game at Swansea on Sunday to ensure a return to the elite.

Despite the difficulties though, Pellegrini does not expect Guardiola, who won the Champions League twice in charge of Barcelona and has spent the past three years at Bayern Munich, to need long to adapt.

Pellegrini said: "If it is the first time you are going to be in this league, of course it is a new challenge. I am not just talking about Guardiola, I am talking about myself also, the first year that I arrived here.

"But after working in Europe for so many years as a manager I think you are prepared to take on that challenge.

"Of course it is not the same as when you are living in the Premier League but I think every good manager is prepared. I am sure being in a difficult league Guardiola will be able to be very successful."

Press Association

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