Pellegrini is wrong about Chelsea, claims assistant Blues coach

Steve Holland has shot down Manchester City head coach Manuel Pellegrini’s claims that Chelsea are a “small team”.

City reduced a late point against the Blues on Sunday, with Stamford Bridge legend Frank Lampard netting a well-worked volley against his former employers.

In the aftermath of the game, City head coach Pellegrini criticised Chelsea and Jose Mourinho for their approach to the game, suggesting that they were a “small team” like Stoke, who travel to the Premier League giants only to defend.

The accusations are similar to those which dogged the Blues last season, and have followed Mourinho for his entire career, with many coaches disliking the Portuguese coach’s tactics. However, it has a proven return of results, with Chelsea beating City twice last season, and having the best record against the top Premier League sides in recent history.

In response to the accusations, assistant coach Steve Holland, taking the media duties in Mourinho’s absence, defended the style of play used in West London, with the clubs respective goalscoring tally’s showing favourably in Chelsea’s argument.

The coach said: “Chelsea have scored 16 goals in five matches this season, which, without being petty, Manchester City have scored eight in five. Twice as many goals in five matches.

“Jose has always been very clever tactically against the bigger clubs. Last year proved that. I’m sure he’ll continue down that line. I don’t think there’s any need to respond beyond that.

“We’ll just continue with our work and try to win as many football matches as possible.”

Having fought their way to a third-placed finish last season, the Blues look in a much better position to seriously challenge for the Premier League title this year, and Holland has admitted that the mentality in the squad has changed from hope to belief.

“Last year we hoped. This year we believe. There is a difference,” he continued.

“This year there is a greater belief than last year. We feel the depth that we have in the squad, the balance that we have in the squad.

“Physically, mentally, tactically, the team has progressed and the team is ready to put on a real challenge.

“But we also know there will be other clubs that feel the same and it will be a difficult contest right until the end.”

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