Belfast Telegraph

Pellegrini sees Stoke in Chelsea

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini claimed Chelsea played like "a small team" and likened their approach to Stoke in the 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium.

Unlike the Potters, who recorded a surprise victory last month, the Stamford Bridge side left with a draw after substitute Frank Lampard scored a late equaliser against his former club to cancel out Andre Schurrle's goal.

For the second successive season Chelsea, who had a 100 per cent record prior to kick-off, came looking to frustrate and primarily avoid defeat.

While it paid off previously this time they slipped up as City fought back despite having Pablo Zabaleta sent off for a second bookable offence.

"It think we played 90 minutes against a small team trying to defend, trying to keep 10 players in front of their goal, and (we were) a team that wanted to win from the beginning," he said.

"I think we played against exactly the same team we played against Stoke here.

"It was very difficult for us to score but finally we did score. I don't want to analyse Chelsea. What the other teams do, it is not my duty to analyse."

Mourinho, whose relationship with Pellegrini dating back to their time in Spain could be described as frosty at best, rejected the accusations.

"Many times he says he never speaks about me and my team but he keeps doing the same thing," said the Portuguese.

"I am the one that does as he says. I don't comment on his words. Don't ask me about his words, I am not interested in that.

"It is one point won because we arrived here leaders with two points more than second and we leave the stadium with a three-point lead.

"I don't look to direct opponents, I don't look to other clubs in a special way. I look to the table and we are leaders by three points.

"We come here to a super-difficult stadium and a super-difficult opponent and we leave in better conditions than we arrived, so good.

"We hit the post (through Diego Costa) with a 1-0 lead and when you don't kill matches, you are in danger, especially when you play against very good teams.

"We had a tactical reaction to try to win the game. They had an emotional reaction to try not to lose the game.

"We were successful in our tactical change to try to win the game because we scored and had more chances to score and they were successful in their emotional reaction and I think in the end from my perspective the point is maybe a point that they deserve."

Mourinho let Lampard go at the end of last season and he subsequently joined City's Major League Soccer venture in New York being loaned back to the parent club, but he did not want to comment on the midfielder's significant contribution to the result.

"I don't speak about players from other teams, I am sorry. I don't speak about Frank," he added.

"To speak about Frank is to speak about my past with Frank, the player he was for what he means in my career.

"I will never tire to speak about this. The moment he is a Man City player, he is a Man City player.

"Mr Pellegrini, instead of speaking about other teams' players, should speak about Frank Lampard.

"I am Chelsea manager, I speak about my players. My players were fantastic."

Pellegrini, however, was only too happy to talk about the 36-year-old's contribution.

"When I sent Lampard into the game I told him go and score. I was so sure Frank would play well against Chelsea because he is a very good professional," said the Chilean.

Zabaleta apologised on Twitter for his red card, but claimed Costa should also have been sent off.

He posted an image of their clash taken from the live coverage of the match which showed the Chelsea striker with his hand on the Argentinian's throat and wrote: "However after seeing this image I can't believe that Diego Costa remained on the pitch."

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