Analysis: Jose Mourinho mind games will not work on Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini – this is one tough cookie

A Different League: After a derby defeat to Boca Juniors, armed police had to shuffle him out of a side exit to protect him from the mob

Old-timer Manuel Pellegrini's skin is thicker than Yaya Touré's pay packet so it was no surprise that he made as little as he did about being abused by the Newcastle manager, Alan Pardew, at the weekend.

The word among some of his Premier League counterparts is that Manchester City's manager is not winning any popularity contests. If Sir Alex Ferguson was still in charge at United, we would probably have heard by now about how the City man never stops for a glass of Chilean red after games.

Pellegrini is as cold to fellow managers as he is flat in front of cameras and microphones, but the iceman persona and apparent immunity to provocation can only bode well for City's title run-in. There will be no Kevin Keegan "I would love it" moment when Jose Mourinho starts to crank up the mind games.

The Chelsea manager has already started poking the cage with the suggestion that the title is City's to lose because of their "vastly superior" squad. He has claimed beating City to the title this year would be his "greatest achievement" at Stamford Bridge. The David and Goliath rhetoric will continue from here until May.

But Pellegrini learnt how to bat away Mourinho curve balls in La Liga and before that honed his steely exterior in South America. Had there been extended verbals between himself and Pardew on Sunday, he could easily have told him: "You don't bother me, pal, I've had a police escort out of a Superclasico."

When he and his current assistant Ruben Cousillas took over at River Plate in 2002, he was Mr Unpopular from the start. He had replaced a club legend in Ramon Diaz and supporters had wanted another old favourite, the 1978 World Cup-winning captain Daniel Passarella, to take over.

Pellegrini did himself no favours by announcing his long-term aim was to coach the Chile national side, but he rode out the storm and delivered the title. The police escort came in the second season when things turned sour. After a defeat to bitter rivals Boca Juniors at River's El Monumental stadium, armed police had to shuffle him out of a side exit to protect him from the mob.

When he arrived in England at the start of the season, some suggested Pellegrini would not handle the pressure as he had "won nothing" – harshly discounting two Argentine championships. As a centre-back at Universidad de Chile, his critics referred to him as "El Gomero" – "the gum tree"– a phrase used in Chile to describe someone as "ornamental but not overly useful". That may have been the last time he was properly offended.

As for the "old" part of Pardew's insult, in the current managerial climate that could easily be taken as a compliment: the only coach senior to Pellegrini in the Premier League is 64-year-old Arsène Wenger and he happens to be the only manager higher placed than him in the table. Both men are aiming to the lift the trophy won last year by a 72-year-old; international football's current European and World Champion is 63-year-old Vicente Del Bosque; and last season's Champions League was won by 68-year-old Jupp Heynckes.

Old is gold at the moment, and for the title run-in cold will be gold too if it means being detached and aloof at the top of the table come the end of the season.

Was Peter Crouch Pep's prototype for Lewandowski?

Pep Guardiola and Peter Crouch might not be obvious footballing soul mates but there has always been more to both men than meets the eye.

Crouch was never just a big target man and Guardiola is proving at Bayern Munich he can survive without a "false nine" and a team full of tiki-taka midfielders.

The signing of Robert Lewandowski has had some Barcelona supporters scratching their heads – what does Guardiola want with an orthodox centre-forward? However, others remember him not only signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2009 but also waxing lyrical over a certain 6ft 7in target man when he wrote columns for El Pais during the 2006 World Cup.

Archives reveal Guardiola stating: "No one should underestimate Crouch. He can play with his head and with his feet. He links with his team-mates. He knows he is playing with 10 others and he offers continuity to the team's play. Every time he receives the ball we can start to count: 'One, two, three, four…' and he still has it – that is something that seems so simple but very few strikers know how to do; he gives Terry and Ferdinand time to bring the whole team forward. To have strikers that don't associate with team-mates and think their game is different to the one everyone else is playing, is to have a very stretched-out team. England don't have that; England have Crouch."

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little