Manchester City ravaged Chelsea to send out a strong title message yesterday.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men thrashed the champions 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium with goals from Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho claimed the scoreline was “fake” but his side were outplayed to the extent that influential skipper John Terry was substituted at half-time.
Aguero had already had four good chances – three of them saved by Asmir Begovic - before he opened the scoring in the 31st minute as City moved up a level even from Monday’s impressive win at West Brom.
The result piled on the problems for Chelsea after a turbulent week dominated by the fall-out from Mourinho’s row with two of his medical staff. They have just one point from their opening two games and already trail City by five.
City manager Pellegrini dismissed Mourinho’s complaints, claiming his side should have won even more convincingly.
The Chilean said: “I am very satisfied because it is not easy to beat the champions. It was a great performance. I think our team played better and 3-0 is the minimum we deserved.”
Chelsea had just three shots on target to City’s eight and did not trouble Joe Hart until Eden Hazard forced a save in the 70th minute, although Ramires was earlier denied by a close offside call.
But Mourinho said: “It think it is a fake result. If you tell me 2-0 at half-time I would say yes, but 2-0 or 3-0 at the end of the game I would say, completely, no.”
There was also controversy as Fernandinho caught Diego Costa with an apparent elbow and the Chelsea striker needed to be restrained as he tried to confront the Brazil international at half-time.
“My feeling? Red card,” said Mourinho, who also claimed Yaya Toure could have picked up a second booking late in the game.
Mourinho defended his decision to take off 34-year-old Terry, explaining that he wanted to get the pace of Kurt Zouma into the game.
He said: “I felt Zouma should be on the pitch because he is the fastest defender. It was a question of taking off John or (Gary) Cahill.”
That admission from Mourinho might fuel a renewed attempt to prise John Stones from Everton, although the Merseysiders have strongly resisted Chelsea’s advances so far this summer.
One deal did go through, however, with Chelsea announcing after the game they had signed 21-year-old Ghanaian left-back Baba Rahman for an undisclosed fee from Augsburg.
City might also strengthen but Pellegrini, who has not commented on reports linking the club with Wolfsburg’s Kevin de Bruyne, would also not answer questions about rumoured interest in Valencia defender Nicolas Otamendi.
But he was happier to speak about Aguero, who after scoring 32 goals last season is now off the mark again after netting on his first start of the new campaign.
Pellegrini 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.“