MANCHESTER CITY V NEWCASTLE UNITED
Follow all the action live from the Etihad Stadium as Man City host Newcastle United in the Barclays Premier League
Pellegrini in relaxed mood
Manuel Pellegrini is ready to hit the ground the running as his Manchester City career begins in earnest this week.
The Chilean has slipped effortlessly into the managerial hotseat vacated at the Etihad Stadium by Roberto Mancini at the end of last season.
Pellegrini already claims to feel at home and is comfortable with his squad as he prepares to launch their Barclays Premier League campaign at home to Newcastle on Monday.
The 59-year-old has a daunting challenge ahead ofhim having been told the club not only want to win the biggest prizes, but want to do so in style and with a harmonious dressing room.
He also has a host of other responsibilities relating to City's much-noted "holistic approach" to all footballing matters but none of this fazes him.
The former Villarreal, Real Madrid and Malaga boss said: "It is my first time here in England and it is a different league.
"(Whether it is) more difficult or less difficult we will see during the year, but for me (it is) exactly the same.
"I worked for nine years in Europe and I saw a lot of matches in the Premier League every weekend.
"I played in the Champions League against English Premier League teams so I know a lot about this. And living here now, of course, I see more."
Pellegrini is expected to reshape the City side and urge them to play in a more fluid style.
The team are thought likely to play in a basic 4-3-3 formation but Pellegrini claims that is far too simplistic a description.
He said: "I am very flexible. I don't have to play every week exactly the same.
"We will see for a lot of reasons which is the best one. I am not afraid of playing different ways because the team is prepared to."
City were joint favourites along with Chelsea for the title prior to the season kicking off with champions Manchester United third and Arsenal a distant fourth.
Pellegrini, however, is convinced the race is wide open.
When asked who he anticipated as rivals, he said: "Normally the same clubs that every year are trying to win the Premier League - Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham.
"All of them are important but always, every year, a club has a surprise. Maybe another club can do it this year."
Striker Sergio Aguero is in contention after overcoming a knee injury but defender Matija Nastasic is missing due to an ankle injury and is expected to return to training next week.
New signings Fernandinho, Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic could make their debuts.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is adamant any talk of frustration at St James' Park could not be further from the truth and his team are better prepared than ever for the new season ahead.
The Magpies head to the Etihad Stadium with plenty of cause to celebrate the end of a summer break marked by behind-the-scenes upheaval, transfer woe and a high-profile sponsorship dispute.
But Pardew has remained remarkably upbeat through all the issues, not least the controversial appointment of former boss Joe Kinnear as the club's new director of football.
And he insists there is no reason why his side cannot put the memories of last season's struggle behind them and regain the form that saw them sweep to fifth place in the 2011-12 campaign.
Pardew said: "There is always that special feeling when the Premier League is kicking off and I think we've worked hard on pre-season and got the group in fantastic condition.
"You can never read too much into pre-season - two years ago we lost to Leeds in our final pre-season game and were all over the place, but we went on to finish fifth.
"What I do know is the guys are fitter than they've ever been under my management and they're ready to go.
"Last year was difficult for us, not only with the extra games but also because it was compounded by an injury crisis. We will be better armed next time we go into Europe and that's where we want to play."
Pardew's lack of success in bringing in new players this summer - his only addition so far, Loic Remy, is ruled out with a thigh strain - comes in sharp contrast to the millions splashed by Pellegrini.
But Pardew believes rather than being daunted by their opening fixture, his side have a magnificent chance to produce a performance which will be seen as a statement of intent for the season ahead.
He added: "City have invested heavily again and obviously they will be one of the top contendersfor the title, so it is going to be a tough game but it is one we are more than ready for.
"It's a psychological game for us in terms of putting ourselves in the minds of everybody with a really strong performance and hopefully we'll get some points out of it."
Jonas Gutierrez could come into contention for the Magpies after a hamstring complaint.