Manuel Pellegrini hit back at claims from rival Jose Mourinho thatManchester City’s 3-0 win over Chelsea was “completely fake”.
City sent out a strong title warning as they outplayed the champions at the Etihad Stadium to continue their superb start to the Barclays Premier League season.
Mourinho felt the scoreline was lopsided but Pellegrini – whose victory was only his third over the Portuguese in 14 attempts – felt the result should have been more convincing.
Pellegrini said: “I am very satisfied because it is not easy to beat the champions. It was a great performance.
“I think in the first half we deserved at least three or four goals. The second half was more equal and Chelsea played better, but I just remember one chance that Joe (Hart) saved and when we were 3-0 they had another one.
“I think today our team played better and 3-0 is the minimum we deserved.”
City have won their opening two games of the season 3-0 and are already five points ahead of Chelsea.
Pellegrini said: “In football, nothing is significant until the end of the season.”
Sergio Aguero capped a superb first-half performance with the opening goal after 31 minutes before captain Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho made the result safe in the last 11 minutes.
Aguero scored 32 goals last season and Pellegrini was pleased to see him off the mark for the new campaign on his first start.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) August 16, 2015
He said: “I think Sergio Aguero is in the best moment of his career.
“He is a very important player for us and I believe this season he can be even better.”
Pellegrini has consistently refused to comment on reports linking City with Wolfsburg’s Kevin de Bruyne and similarly batted away fresh rumours of a move for Valencia defender Nicolas Otamendi.
“I cannot confirm nothing,” Pellegrini said at his post-match press conference. “I do not talk about it.”
Mourinho was strong in his belief that the scoreline flattered City.
He told Sky Sports: “If the 1-0 was a doubtful result at minute 70, 75, the 3-0 is completely fake because at 1-0 Chelsea was the better team in the whole second half.”
Asked to elaborate on this in his post-match press conference, Mourinho referred to Pellegrini’s decision to replace Raheem Sterling with Martin Demichelis in the 79th minute.
He said: “Everyone knows in this moment 1-0 is the result they want to keep. The second goal was out of context. We were punished for our mistakes for the second and third goal.”
— Vincent Kompany (@VincentKompany) August 16, 2015
As for his own substitutions, Mourinho made the unusual decision at half-time to take off influential captain John Terry and bring on Kurt Zouma.
He admitted this was a tactical decision to inject more pace into the back line.
He said: “The point was not to take John out, but to put Zouma in. I want to have my fastest player on the pitch and not on the bench.”
There was controversy just before half-time as Chelsea striker Diego Costa was caught by an elbow from Fernandinho and later attempted to confront the Brazilian, who was booked.
“My feeling? Red card,” Mourinho said.
Mourinho added that he felt Yaya Toure should have been booked for a second time in the closing minutes.
He said: “It has no relation with the result but it has a relation with the rules and the rules say minute one or minute 90, it was a red card.”