MANCHESTER City manager Manuel Pellegrini insists he would not have been happy to win the Premier League the ugly way after his entertainers clinched their second top-flight title in three years yesterday.
Goals from Samir Nasri and skipper Vincent Kompany eased City to their second trophy, following the Capital One Cup, of a campaign that yielded a record 156 goals in all competitions.
West Ham never threatened the upset City’s title rivals Liverpool, who came from behind to beat Newcastle 2-1 at Anfield, needed to snatch the trophy on the season’s final day.
It left Pellegrini to savour a fine first term in England, in which he refashioned the pragmatic side of predecessor Roberto Mancini into a more attack-minded, at times irresistible force. “I think the way we played is as important as winning the title, the way we did it with the players and the fans enjoying it,” said the Chilean.
“We have players to play in counter-attack but, for me, to win titles just in that way, I will not be happy. We won with 102 goals, and with the record of goals in all competitions in the history here in England.
“It is the way the team must play with the quality of players we have.”
Pellegrini warned that, following the closest season in recent history with Chelsea and Arsenal also rivalling the top two, planning for next year would begin almost immediately.
“It has been a beautiful season but you always need to continue winning and improving,” he added. “We are going to start working as soon as possible to be the strongest team next year.”
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers wasted no time in targeting revenge over City after his team recovered from Martin Skrtel’s own goal to beat nine-man Newcastle with strikes from Daniel Agger and Daniel Sturridge.
“Congratulations to Manchester City,” Rodgers said. “We have just finished short, but we’ll be back. The goal is to try to win the title next year.”
Liverpool needed West Ham to beat City to have any chance of snatching top spot but fell behind to centre-back Skrtel’s fourth own goal of the season – a new Premier League record – on 20 minutes.
Six minutes before half-time midfielder Nasri put City ahead, firing in low from 20 yards, and Kompany made safe the result – and the title – just after the break from close range after a corner fell kindly.
The Reds, already ensured of second place before kick-off, equalised through Agger’s header on 65 minutes and went ahead seconds later from an almost identical Steven Gerrard free-kick, this time touched home at the back post by Sturridge.