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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Manuel Pellegrini: FFP prevented City making Angel Di Maria bid

Manuel Pellegrini said financial fair play regulations were the reason Manchester City did not attempt to sign Angel Di Maria this summer.

Di Maria was offered to the Premier League champions before he joined Manchester United for a British record fee of 59.7 million pounds.

However, City were restricted to a net spend of 49 million pounds this summer as part of their punishment for breaching UEFA's regulations, while their Champions League squad is limited to 21 senior players, five of whom must qualify as homegrown.

Former Real Madrid boss Pellegrini admitted City were not in the same financial league as United, who were able to spend 152 million pounds this summer.

He said in a news conference: "I think it is very easy. We have an important restriction about budget this year. We cannot spend the money that United paid for Di Maria.

"We have an important restriction on the amount of players we can have this year and also the amount the amount of money we can spend."

The Argentina international is set to line up against City in Sunday's Manchester derby and Pellegrini added: "I think he is a very good player but not the only good player Manchester United has. But he is a very good player."

The Chilean said he did not know why Real allowed Di Maria, who was the man of the match in May's Champions League final win over Atletico, to leave the Bernabeu.

He said: "The reason Real Madrid sold him? I don't know. It's hard for me to know."

Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United

- City Ratings: Derby day delight
- United Ratings: Stupid Smalling
- Delaney: Smalling costs United
- ESPN FC TV: Aguero downs United
- Jolly: Some positives for LVG
- Van Gaal: We were sloppy
- Pellegrini: Clean sheet important
- Vote: Red card for Joe Hart?

City have lost their last two games, to West Ham and Newcastle, and sides who have done well against them this season have tended to follow a similar gameplan.

Pellegrini, whose team have suffered five defeats already this season, has said he is confident his players will return to form in the derby and denied City have been found out.

"I don't agree with your conclusion that they know how we play and that's how they can do it," he said. "I think that every manager knows the way a team plays and the performance of the players in that game makes the difference.

"I just said that the last two games -- and I include Stoke, though maybe there wasn't quite so many chances -- that the goalkeeper was the best player on their team. I don't know if you as a manager can predict that."

Pellegrini shrugged off criticisms of City's slow start to the season by pointing out that similar comments were made 12 months ago.

He added: "I think always you have better moments and bad moments in the season. If you review last year [and compare it with] what we are doing at this moment, I think we were not playing better than today and the criticisms were exactly the same as they are today.

"It's normal. It's not good to do it but normally all the teams have the moment in the season when you are not in your best moment. It is important for it to be at the beginning of the season and not at the end of the season."

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