Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini is convinced his team have been the best this season and denied they are too inconsistent.
City’s form since opening the campaign with five impressive, clean-sheet victories has been up and down with convincing wins interspersed with some dismal defeats; they are always worryingly close to an omnishambles.
Two of the losses were particularly heavy, to Tottenham and Liverpool, while last week’s surprise defeat at Stoke knocked them off the top of the Barclays Premier League soon after they had reclaimed first place.
But despite slipping to third, City remain title favourites and Pellegrini also has a firm answer to any critics.
He said: “I know that we are qualified in every competition, I know that we are top of the table…or we were top of the table just one game ago.
“For 13 games we were the leaders so I expect that we have a very good team. Maybe we played three bad games in the whole season but in all the other games I think that we are a very consistent team and the best team this season.”
There is a feeling Pellegrini’s attacking philosophy leaves a defence already weakened by the absence of the injured Vincent Kompany too exposed, but he denies this is an issue and will not change his approach.
He said: “I like to play attacking football, I like to score a lot of goals, but I prefer to win 4-0 than 4-2.
“If we are conceding goals it’s just not because we are playing attacking football. For the two goals of Borussia (Monchengladbach) we had seven or eight players near our box.”
If that is the case, then Pellegrini accepts mistakes must be being made elsewhere, and he knows they need to be eradicated to keep the title bid on track.
He said: “Of course. We need to because we’re too ugly. You can lose to any team here in England but you can’t lose ugly, by an important amount of goals.
“It’s an important thing that we analyse why but I know exactly what to expect from this team every game.”