The Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini said tonight that he was most proud that his team would win the title playing attractive football, after a 4-0 win over Aston Villa put them within a point of the club’s second Premier League in three years.
Although Pellegrini did not name any of his rivals, such as Jose Mourinho, there was a clear intention by the usually guarded City manager to emphasise his belief that his side have played the best football in the division this year. Yaya Toure’s spectacular fourth goal on the night was the 100th of City’s league season and gives them a 15 goal advantage over Liverpool on goal difference.
Pellegrini said: “Now we can talk about the title because if we win the next game we are going to win the title. We could not do the same before this game because we had to beat Aston Villa. I think it will be very important, not only the title but in the way we are going to win the title if finally we win it.
“We have a style of play. I think we are an attractive team. We score many goals and we are always thinking to score more goals. That to me has the same importance as winning the title. The way we play the whole season, I hope we will play the next game the same way. I am very happy to manage this team this way.
“Without comparing with the other teams, I was very happy with the way the team played, with maturity, character, personality. Continuing to do what they believe, which is the best way to win. That is what we do the whole season maybe with criticism at the beginning because we lost two or three games away.
“In the way we play, I am very happy to win the title this way. There are different ways to win titles, I choose this one with attractive football, that the fans enjoy the season. Maybe you can win titles other ways. For me, the aesthetic part is very important.”
The Villa manager Paul Lambert, whose side remain in 14th, said that the necessity of picking Callum Robinson and Jack Grealish, who has been on loan at Notts County in League One this season, on the bench, showed just how lightweight his squad has become. Both came on as second half substitutes.
Lambert said that it “smacked you in the face” as to how threadbare he believes his squad has become with injuries to the likes of Christian Benteke, Gabby Agbonlahor, Alexander Tonev and Marc Albrighton. Lambert said: “I will wait with bated breath for what the chairman [Randy Lerner] says [at the end of the season]. He will decide when he says it and what he has to say and I will respect whatever decision he makes.”