Pellegrini wary of Mourinho mind games

26 October 2013 12:16

Manchester City coach Manuel Pellegrini says he has no intention of igniting a feud with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho ahead of the two teams' Premier League showdown on Sunday.

The pair previously crossed swords in Spain, with Mourinho denigrating the Chilean's record with Real Madrid after succeeding him at the Bernabeu in 2010.

Sunday's game at Stamford Bridge will be their first encounter in English football, but Pellegrini says he does wish to revisit old disagreements.

"I never get involved in the moment and I will not get involved now," he said during Friday's pre-match press conference.

"I don't know him. He worked in Spain, I worked in another club. We played Real Madrid against Malaga, nothing more. I don't have any complaint about him."

Both managers' current teams are riding high in the Premier League.

Chelsea climbed to second place with a 4-1 win over Cardiff City last weekend, while City stole into the top four by winning 3-1 at West Ham United.

They each carried their good form into the Champions League in mid-week, Chelsea winning 3-0 at principle Group E rivals Schalke and City beating CSKA Moscow 2-1 in the Russian capital.

City's victory was however scarred by racist chanting aimed at midfielder Yaya Toure, for which the Russian club have been charged by European governing body UEFA.

Toure has been in commanding form for City this season, scoring four goals in eight league games, and Mourinho has described the powerful Ivorian as a "fantastic player".

"He gives them everything," the Portuguese said. "Leadership, defensive work, attacking work, goals, set-plays, physicality, experience."

The trip to west London will be City's third match in a run of four consecutive away games in all competitions, but midfielder Samir Nasri says they can take heart from their recent performances on the road.

"Winning at West Ham and CSKA means we will go into this game with a lot more confidence," the Frenchman told the club website.

"It was important we started winning away in the Premier League but we know Chelsea won't be an easy game.

"I think they are more complete than they were last season. They are always a threat, especially on their own pitch and with Jose Mourinho returning, that's even more the case, so we will have to be at our best if we are to get a good result."

The visitors will be without captain Vincent Kompany, who is still not ready to return following a thigh problem, but Pellegrini says that Jack Rodwell could feature after overcoming a hamstring complaint.

Mourinho can once again call on left-back Ashley Cole, who has not played since sustaining a rib injury in the 3-1 win away to Norwich City on October 6.

The England international will return in place of Cesar Azpilicueta, who filled in at left-back against Schalke.

Mourinho must also choose between Fernando Torres and Samuel Eto'o to lead the line, with both players having found the net in their most recent outings.

Eto'o registered his first Chelsea goal and laid on an assist in the victory over Cardiff, while Torres found the net twice in an eye-catching display against Schalke in Gelsenkirchen.

Eden Hazard has also impressed, scoring twice against Cardiff and then sealing the win over Schalke with the third goal, and he credits Mourinho with the team's current form.

"Jose has brought his experience," the Belgian attacker told Chelsea's website.

"He is a coach who helps us players. He impresses me with how much he knows. It's not bad, the amount of things that he has won before!

"At the moment it's going well. I hope he will keep on winning and we can win together, as a group.

"All the managers I have worked under have wanted me to have a decisive role in the team, to score goals and to make assists. I try to follow the game plan and do my job on the pitch."

Source: AFP