Manuel Pellegrini has insisted he did not get his tactics wrong and is adamant he was not out-thought by Jose Mourinho when Manchester City lost to Chelsea on Feb. 3.
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Mourinho’s team have beaten Pellegrini’s side home and away in the Premier League this season and they meet for a third occasion at the Etihad Stadium in the FA Cup on Saturday.
And when Chelsea won 1-0 on their last trip to City, Mourinho was applauded for his gameplan and Pellegrini criticised for his approach.
But the City manager said: “I am absolutely sure that in the previous game it was not a problem with tactics. We had three or four clear chances before they scored. If we'd scored we could have scored again.”
Pellegrini is set to go into the rematch with the same approach and denied City need another defensive midfielder against Chelsea.
He added: “In the first game we played with two midfielders like that: [Martin] Demichelis and Yaya Toure. We had 64 percent of possession. It's important to be balanced when you are attacking.”
Pellegrini is unwavering in his belief the previous defeat was not down to the absence of midfielder Fernandinho, who is still sidelined with a muscle problem. He added: “It was not because we didn't have Fernandinho, it was because we made a mistake with a pass. We were not in order.”
He has only won once and lost seven of nine managerial meetings with Mourinho but insists he is unworried by that statistic as he was in charge of a smaller club when they met in Spain.
The coach: “I don't play against Mourinho. The record you are talking about is Malaga against Real Madrid sometimes. If you take the average of that fixture you will see Madrid normally beat Malaga. We beat Madrid once.
"This year there have been two [meetings]. It's important we review the game but it's not a problem for me -- I don't play against him."