Pellegrini: City have learned from last season

Andy Hampson 24/08/2015
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Confident: Pellegrini.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes his team have learned from the mistakes of last season after maintaining their superb start to the new campaign.

City beat Everton 2-0 at Goodison Park on Sunday to move clear at the top of the Premier League with three wins from as many games.

Pellegrini’s men have scored eight goals and conceded none, playing with pace and fluidity in attack and strength in defence. After last season’s disappointing runners-up finish to Chelsea, City are looking formidable.

Pellegrini said: “This team, in the last three seasons, has been the team that always plays the best football but we made a lot of mistakes in games that seemed easy (last season).

“Normally we are a team that goes forward, plays attractive football, tries to score goals and doesn’t change the style. Even in the worst moments of last season I continued thinking in the way we must play and we will continue.

“But if you want to be an offensive team and to score goals it is very important to know how to defend, sometimes with 11 players, sometimes eight, sometimes five.

“The back line have played very well in the three games. All of them are in a high performance. There are a lot of things that all together make us a good team at this moment.”

– EPL: Pedro scores on debut as Chelsea beat West Brom
– #360view: United need Rooney options to compete
– GALLERY: Eight players to snub United for Chelsea

City were tested by the Toffees but broke through with a goal from Aleksandar Kolarov on the hour. Substitute Samir Nasri made victory certain in the 88th minute. Pellegrini downplayed the strong message to rivals that his side’s performances might be sending out.

He said: “We are not clear about that. We are just clear about winning the next game. Now we have won we must think about Watford. What other the teams think about our team is not our problem.”

Everton were watched by River Plate defender Ramiro Funes Mori and manager Roberto Martinez admitted a deal for the 24-year-old could be close.

Meanwhile, club director Jon Woods insisted they are standing firm over John Stones and will not be selling him. Woods said: “I won’t sell him, Bill (Kenwright) won’t sell him, because there aren’t many days to go.”

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Mourinho refuses to blame John Terry from WBA red

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Marching orders: Terry.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho refused to blame John Terry after his dismissal at West Brom – but believes appealing the red could be a waste of time.

The defender was sent off early in the second half for pulling back Salomon Rondon to continue his difficult start to the season. Chelsea hung on for a 3-2 win at The Hawthorns to record their first Premier League victory of the season after Pedro’s debut goal set them on course for the win.

Terry retained his place after being substituted during last week’s 3-0 defeat at Manchester City and Mourinho feels appealing the sending off would not be worth it.

He said: “Normally it’s a waste of time for us, I think we should but normally it’s a waste of time. (Nemanja) Matic against Burnley last year was a waste of time, Diego Costa against Liverpool was a waste of time.

No (I don’t blame him), it’s a ball into the space behind the fullback, the fullback is pressing high, the striker makes the movement and then (referee) Mr Clattenburg decides it’s a red card. “To speak about the sending off I have to speak about many other things in the game. Some things you can see and some things we can see.

“I prefer just to focus on us. Tomorrow the back pages have to be different because we won.”

– EPL: Pedro scores on debut as Chelsea beat West Brom
– #360view: United need Rooney options to compete
– GALLERY: Eight players to snub United for Chelsea

And Mourinho admitted, after a second red card of the season, the team must train to cope with it. He added: “To train 10 v 11 is something we have to do and I’m not joking. We have to know what to do.”

Pedro’s goal, his first since arriving from Barcelona last week, set Chelsea up for a hard-fought victory as the hosts pushed them all the way following Terry’s red card.

Diego Costa and Cesar Azpilicueta also netted in the first half after Thibaut Courtois saved James Morrison’s early penalty, before the midfielder scored twice. Pedro impressed before being substituted late on and Mourinho believes he proved he can cut it in the Premier League.

He said: “He’s a very good player, there is always a question mark because how many top players come to England and don’t perform immediately. People ask if he is the right player, can he adapt? We have examples in our club and there are lots of examples in other clubs, it’s very nice for him to perform the way he did.”

The Baggies are still searching for their first win of the season after defeats to the champions and Manchester City.

BossTony Pulis dropped Saido Berahino from the squad after Albion rejected a bid from Tottenham for the striker last week and Pulis decided the England under-21 international was not in the right frame of mind to play after the speculation.

He said: “He is fine, there’s no problems but it’s the transfer window which causes the problems. He needs to be protected. No-one should have this problem.”

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No sympathy from Wenger ahead of 'pool clash

Jim van Wijk 24/08/2015
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Focused: Wenger.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger can offer little sympathy for Liverpool having to deal with the loss of Luis Suarez and then Raheem Sterling as he looks to get his own team firing again on Monday night.

The Gunners host the Reds at the Emirates Stadium aiming to build on the battling 2-1 win at Crystal Palace and return to winning ways at home following defeat on the opening day of the new Premier League season to West Ham.

Arsenal beat Liverpool 4-1 in April, going on to secure third place in the table and then retain the FA Cup at Wembley. By contrast, Brendan Rodgers has continued his rebuilding job, having seen Sterling follow star man Suarez out of Anfield when he joined Manchester City earlier this summer.

While Wenger accepts losing key offensive players inevitably leaves a massive hole in the squad, the Frenchman has enough concerns of his own preparing to tackle a team which has won both of their matches so far.

“Liverpool is in a position they can make their own decisions. They refused to sell us Suarez, so I cannot feel too much sympathy for them,” said Wenger, who saw the club’s £40millon+£1 (Dh230.6m) bid rejected in August 2013, the Uruguay forward eventually joining Barcelona.

He continued: “Let’s remember two years ago with Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Sterling, Liverpool scored over a hundred goals, you need special quality to do that, and Sterling was part of that. I personally rate Raheem Sterling. We will see that in the longer term.”

On the back of their 2-0 loss to West Ham, Wenger accepts Arsenal cannot afford too many more poor displays at the Emirates Stadium if they want to mount a serious title challenge.

– EPL: Pedro scores on debut as Chelsea beat West Brom
– #360view: United need Rooney options to compete
– GALLERY: Eight players to snub United for Chelsea

“If you want to win the championship you need to win your home games,” he added. “It can happen that you use the odd game, but overall you need home strength.”

Indeed, Liverpool manager Rodgers believes the Reds can land a psychological blow with victory in north London.

Rodgers admits the result is unlikely to have too much impact on the final standings at this stage, yet appreciates an away win over Wenger’s men can greatly enhance confidence among his group.

“You’re playing one of the rivals that you’re hoping to be competing with at the top end of the table; these games are important,” Rodgers acknowledged.

“They don’t give the full picture in terms of how it will finish up – you can draw or lose these games and still go on and achieve what you want to achieve. Of course it’s for the confidence and psychologically they are important.

“No matter when these games come in the season they are always good for the psychological effect. We know they’re an outstanding group of players and some quality individual players but there’s a real focus in this group for this season, a real toughness, mentally.

“We know that we’ve got that ability to scrap and fight to get a result as well as play good football. If we can go there and perform like we think we can and keep to our game-plan we’re confident we can get a result.”

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