Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini claims he would not be happy winning the Premier League in the manner of Chelsea this season.
Pellegrini has congratulated Jose Mourinho’s men – who can secure the crown this weekend – as worthy winners of the title and feels they have a right to play how they chose.
But the Chilean is not a fan of the often cagey, defensive style overseen by his rival Mourinho and has reiterated his claim Chelsea play like a “small team”.
Pellegrini labelled the Londoners in such a way after the sides drew at the Etihad Stadium in September, when he also compared them to Stoke.
The 61-year-old has stated often enough his belief in attacking football – and indeed has been criticised for sticking too rigidly to it – but he firmly believes that is the way “big teams” should play.
Pellegrini said: “We won exactly the same as Chelsea did this year in a different way last season, absolutely a different way.
“I always try to think in the same way when we are losing or winning. When we play against Chelsea I say the impression is we play against a small team with very good players.
“For me, a big team which has possession of the ball must try to score more goals, must try always to win.
“But, I repeat, the most important thing is to win. After that you can choose the style you want. I don’t criticise him (Mourinho). It is different ways of thinking. Every person is different, I don’t think every person must be exactly the same.
“Maybe for some managers it’s more attractive to score goals. Maybe for another manager it’s more attractive not to concede goals. You must ask the fans what they prefer.
“This season I think that Chelsea were the best team, that he (Mourinho) deserves to win the title because he has (had) the most consistent team with very good players.
“I congratulate his owner because he is always improving his squad and I congratulate his fans and Jose Mourinho and the players because they deserve, absolutely, the title.”
Pellegrini has had a long-running rivalry with Mourinho dating back to when the pair both worked in Spain.
Mourinho this week renewed his attack on City over their punishment for breaching European football’s Financial Fair Play regulations last year by claiming they should have been docked points.
But as is often the case, Pellegrini does not want to rise to the Portuguese.
Pellegrini said: “I don’t have a view about that. Every manager can say what he wants about Financial Fair Play rules. We didn’t lose points because we don’t deserve to.
“There are so many things he (Mourinho) always says that don’t matter – a criminal campaign about Chelsea or referees or the FA Cup or other managers or other things.”
Pellegrini thinks Mourinho says certain things in the hope it might gain an edge for his team, but he claims to be indifferent to it all.
He said: “As a manager you have different ways of thinking about what is professional. Always for winning games you can do what you can. I don’t think in the same way, but he can do what he needs to win.”
Midfielder Yaya Toure will miss Sunday’s trip to Tottenham with the hamstring injury that forced him off at half-time against Aston Villa last weekend.
Pellegrini said: “He is injured. We will see next week but I think (he will be out) at least one week more.”