The most unlikely title battle of all

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‘Who? Me?’ he smiled. ‘I haven’t thought about that.’

If that is rather hard to believe then what is certain is that the outgoing Manchester City manager will not be short of offers. Increasingly, for example, he is being mentioned in the same sentence as Chelsea.

Equally, Pellegrini’s affection for the Premier League is also becoming clear as the Chilean loosens up a little in the wake of his announcement on Monday that he will leave his current club in June.

Today at the Etihad Stadium, City face surprise leaders Leicester, and, asked for his views on the Midlands club’s rise to prominence on Friday, Pellegrini suggested it has already made this season the best of recent memory and predicted that it could start a trend.

‘I think it’s very good for the Premier League and probably next year another new team will be involved in the fight for the title,’ said the City manager. ‘Here in England all the teams have a lot of money to spend and a lot of them have very good players.

‘For me this is the best season because we have such a small difference between one team and another that every game is like a final. Of course the big teams will continue trying to bring the best players but I think that other teams can bring different players and all of them are very good players. We have seen this season that maybe for some it can work.’

Having taken Villarreal to the heights in Spain and indeed Europe between 2004 and 2009, Pellegrini knows how it feels to upset the established order and can recognise Leicester’s momentum building from afar.

‘Of course Leicester can do it, and they are demonstrating they can do it this season,’ he said.

‘I don’t think we can keep talking about them being a surprise and I don’t think we can keep thinking Leicester won’t be involved in the title until the end. They will.’

In Bavaria on Friday, Pellegrini’s replacement at City, Pep Guardiola, admitted that he will have to multi-task between now and the end of his last season with Bayern Munich. ‘I am like a woman,’ he laughed. Pellegrini, too, had his mind on several different things, including today’s meeting with Leicester and another tough one against Tottenham a week tomorrow.

Beyond that, however, the Chilean is already fretting about eight days later in February that will see his team play Chelsea in the FA Cup, Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League in Ukraine and then Liverpool in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley.

It looks as though it will be a definitive month for Pellegrini.

Daily Mail

Original source: The most unlikely title battle of all

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