Jose Mourinho’s list of Premier League enemies is growing by the day, but one with some of the most legitimate gripes of all is Manchester City coach Manuel Pellegrini.
The Chelsea boss ridiculed his achievements at Real Madrid upon succeeding him, noting that “second place is just the first loser” and “I wouldn’t go to Malaga” as a jab at the Chilean’s lack of elite options after departing the Bernabeu, and has swiped at him several times since.
If those comments motivate the 2013/14 Premier League winner to silence the Portuguese agitator, it is something that his latest signing Kevin De Bruyne can relate to.
Mourinho has rarely missed an opportunity to criticise the £55 million Etihad Stadium arrival since selling him to Wolfsburg for around £16.7 million in January 2014.
Among his most notable barbs have been claiming that the Belgian attacking midfielder was “crying every day that he wants to leave” and questioning his mentality by saying that “he was not ready to compete; he was an upset kid, training very bad.”
The Special One also intimated that De Bruyne can’t handle not being a guaranteed starter, though Pellegrini’s first remarks about his new addition suggest that Man City won’t ever have to find out whether that is true.
He gushed: “It takes a special footballer to improve our squad and I have no doubt that Kevin is certainly one of those – he has all of the mental, physical, tactical and technical attributes required to fit straight in.”
Chelsea have signed four first-team players in the positions behind the lone striker in the 19 months since ditching De Bruyne, hinting that replacing him wasn’t quite as easy as anticipated.
The question that news.bwin eagerly awaits the answer to is whether the most recent, Pedro Rodriguez, is capable of outperforming the 24-year-old.
The bwin.com bookmakers have priced up markets on which of them will score more Premier League goals and provide more assists this season, with it proving very difficult to separate the pair. They are both available at evens in the goals market, with a tie a 9/1 shot, while you can get 11/10 on either out-assisting the other or 5/1 on the draw.
However, it is worth remembering that Pedro has a one-goal headstart in both markets, indicating that De Bruyne is expected to contribute a little more than the former Barcelona wide man from this moment onwards. He supplied 21 Bundesliga assists to the Spaniard’s six in La Liga in 2014/15.
The Belgian is likely to enjoy the bonus of dethroning his old manager and chief critic too. In opening up an early eight-point lead over the champions, Man City have emerged as 1/2 title favourites, whereas the Blues have drifted to 9/2.