Brendan Rodgers: we'll be back, Manchester City
If Manchester City think yesterday's Premier League title win will usher in an era of domination under Manuel Pellegrini, they have another think coming.
That's the view of Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who led his team to 26 wins and 101 goals in the league this season yet still finished second to big-spending City, whose 2-0 win over West Ham yesterday sparked jubilant scenes at the Etihad for the second time in three years.
Liverpool had a more subdued 2-1 victory over Newcastle at Anfield, but Ulsterman Rodgers said he was proud to finish just two points behind the new champions despite faltering in the crucial matches against Chelsea and Crystal Palace.
He said: "My overriding feeling at the moment is one of sheer pride. We have finished the season winning 12 games out of 14, drew one and lost one.
"We have just finished short, but we'll be back. The goal is to try to win the title next year."
Pellegrini said: "I think the way we played was as important as winning the title, the way we did it with the players and the fans enjoying it."
Pellegrini credits unity as pivotal factor in Etihad glory
Manuel Pellegrini hailed Manchester City's success for winning the Barclays Premier League – and for doing so in stunning style.
A comfortable 2-0 win over West Ham saw City triumph by two points over Liverpool in the title race, while scoring a record 156 goals in all competitions this season.
City's total of 102 Premier League goals was one short of the record, but the 156 goals is nine more than the 147 Chelsea managed last season.
The team's style was in stark contrast to the often-negative tactics under predecessor Roberto Mancini – and the Chilean said he had inherited a disunited squad.
Pellegrini, who has become the first non-European coach to win the English top flight, said: "It was my first season in the Premier League and I had to change a lot of things.
"The most important thing was we changed the way this team play. I am not criticising other styles or comparing, I like to play one way and for me it was important to give the reasons and to have the trust of the players to change the way they played.
"When I arrived at this club maybe the relations between the squad were not the best so I think it was very important to have calm and try to convince all of them how we can play and how it was important to be very close to try to win a very difficult title.
"I think the way we played is as important as winning the title, the way we did it with the players and the fans enjoying it.
"We have players to play in counter-attack but for me, to win titles just in that way, I will not be happy. We won with 102 goals, and with the record of goals in all competitions in England it is the way the team must play with the quality of players we have.
"It has been a brilliant season and I would say of all the sides we kept going longest.
"The Wigan (FA Cup quarter-final) defeat was quite tough to bear but when you consider we played 14 or 15 more games than Liverpool, maybe if we had gone further in the FA Cup we may not be sitting here as champions."
Pellegrini was given the bumps by his delighted players after the trophy ceremony, and they lined up to praise his influence.
Samir Nasri, who scored the opening goal before Vincent Kompany added a second, said: "I'm so happy for the manager because it's his first title in Europe. He remained calm.
"It was a pleasure to work for him. It's an amazing feeling. It's my second league in three years. It was an amazing league all year. Everyone put his ego on the side."
City's England goalkeeper Joe Hart admitted: "He's a winner, he wants us to win. He is a measured man and he believes in what he does."
Kompany said: "We are building a club, not just a team.
"The past is the past, but surely we have our place in the future. Next year we have to be even better. If we want to be a big club this has to be one of many."
Pellegrini admitted the success felt "very special" but that after the victory parade today, work would start tomorrow for next season.
"I think it's very important to celebrate today and tomorrow and on Tuesday start working for next season.
"We are going to do a balance of the whole year with the positive things and negative things.
"It has been a beautiful season but you always need to continue winning and improving, and we are going to start working as soon as possible to be the strongest team next year."