• Manchester City have bolstered their squad with the likes of £49m Raheem Sterling and £32m Nicolas Otamendi
  • Manuel Pellegrini is prepared to be ruthless as City chase a record equalling ninth consecutive victory when they face Everton
  • Vincent Kompany, Eliaquim Mangala and Otamendi are competing for two centre-half places 

Joe Bernstein for The Mail on Sunday

Manuel Pellegrini has warned nobody is safe at Manchester City after their summer spending spree continued last week with the £32million arrival of Argentine defender Nicolas Otamendi and the ongoing pursuit of £50m Wolfsburg star Kevin De Bruyne.

City are currently in outstanding form and have been made Premier League title favourites after beating West Brom and Chelsea 3-0 in their first two matches. Indeed, if they win at Everton on Sunday, it will be their ninth consecutive league victory equalling a record that dates back to 1912.

Given those results, Pellegrini is set to name an unchanged team at Goodison Park. But longer-term, the Chilean – dubbed This Charming Man by City fans – is prepared to be ruthless if standards drop, and knows he has the squad to do it.

Manchester City's summer spending spree continued with the £32m signing of Nicolas Otamendi last week

Manchester City’s summer spending spree continued with the £32m signing of Nicolas Otamendi last week

City boss Manuel Pellegrini has warned his players that no one's place in the team is safe

City boss Manuel Pellegrini has warned his players that no one’s place in the team is safe

MAN CITY BIG SUMMER SIGNINGS 

Raheem Sterling        £49m

Nicolas Otamendi       £32m

Fabian Delph              £8m 

The arrival of Otamendi means City are unique in having two £30m-plus centre halves at the club in Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala.

Whereas Louis van Gaal has publicly stated his captain Wayne Rooney will always be picked for important matches because of his status, Pellegrini won’t make the same guarantees for his skipper Vincent Kompany, or anyone else. Kompany has started the campaign well and scored twice after being dogged by injury and loss of form last season. But he will have to keep out one of City’s expensive acquisitions to play.

Explaining his philosophy, Pellegrini said: ‘A player is captain for a lot of reasons, because is a good leader, a good performer, has played for the same club for many years, and is an international.

‘But for me, the most important thing is the performance. If the performance of any player is not the performance I know he can give, then I think we must find a replacement – for the captain or not the captain. The captain has more responsibility than a normal player.’

‘I trust in Vincent, I trust Mangala, I trust Otamendi, I think the experience of Martin Demichelis (City’s fourth centre back) is important also. In that position now, we have very good players. We have two good players in every position.

‘Competition is very important. The important thing (for players) is not to play as many games as they can, it is to play well when you have to.’ 

Mangala, signed from Porto for £32m a year ago, had been linked with a loan move to Valencia as part of the Otamendi deal, but Pellegrini said: ‘I’m not saying anything about that because I don’t know. The facts are the facts, Mangala is here. I think that Mangala wanted to stay here, I want him to stay here and he’s here.’

Last week, Pellegrini said Mangala would show over the next few season why City signed him.

Captain Vincent Kompany must compete with two £30m-plus centre havles in Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala

Captain Vincent Kompany must compete with two £30m-plus centre havles in Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala

After last year’s restrictions in the transfer market because of Financial Fair Play penalties, City have made up for it this summer by breaking the club transfer record for Raheem Sterling and also signing Fabian Delph, Patrick Roberts and Enes Unal. They also hope to agree a fee for De Bruyne.

Pellegrini is cautious about the fanfare that has greeted their performances this season, reminding everyone they also won the first two matches a year ago but didn’t retain their title.

‘You also have five other clubs with very strong squads. What will separate us is the the performances of the players during the year,’ he said. ‘You have a better chance when important players have important seasons.

‘We won the title here when Yaya scored 22 goals, but you can’t expect that from him every season. Last year he scored 11 and everyone said it was a disaster! Maybe you had Eden Hazard for Chelsea last season.’

Kompany staked his claim for a regular starting spot by scoring in his opening two games for City

Kompany staked his claim for a regular starting spot by scoring in his opening two games for City

Pellegrini puts City’s good start down to pre-season where he felt ironed out minor problems following heavy defeats against Real Madrid and Stuttgart. David Silva’s move to a central No 10 role has also worked out with the little Spaniard in majestic form.

Sterling has slotted in quickly and Pellegrini has no fears about his first return to Merseyside this afternoon since his controversial move from Liverpool.

Being a former Red, 20-year-old Sterling can expect a hostile reception from Everton’s traditionally partisan support.

City have won two of the last four Premier League titles and are now favourites to claim it again this season

City have won two of the last four Premier League titles and are now favourites to claim it again this season

‘I things those things will just motivate Raheem,’ said Pellegrini. ‘In Everton’s stadium he has always received boos and I think it will be exactly the same. He knows what happens and I don’t think it will affect him.’

City will go to Anfield in March but even then Pellegrini says he is unikely to follow Sir Alex Ferguson’s example when he took Wayne Rooney out of the firing line for certain away fixtures at his former club Everton.

‘I want to win games so I won’t do that,’ said the City manager who has been impressed with Sterling so far. Striker Wilfried Bony says last season’s failure to land silverware is motivating City this time.

The Ivory Coast striker who signed from Swansea in January said: ‘We know we didn’t win anything last season so we want to win a trophy or trophies. We have won two games but more important now is to think about Everton. We know it will be difficult but we just have to work hard and take the chances we get.’ 

 

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