Manchester City will not rest on their laurels after finishing on top of the Premier League table for the second time in three years, manager Manuel Pellegrini says.
Sunday’s 2-0 victory over West Ham United ensured City finished two points clear of second-placed Liverpool and meant that there was no repeat of the drama that surrounded their first Premier League title win in 2012.
Pellegrini, who is from Chile, also became the first non-European manager to win the biggest prize in English football.
It is a matter of some pride to the patriotic 60-year-old, although his main focus, starting this week, will be ensuring City do not repeat their form of two years ago and follow a championship-winning campaign with a weak title defence.
“Big teams cannot be satisfied with one title,” he said. “It’s very important. Celebrate today (Sunday), tomorrow, and Tuesday start working for next season, because this club and players deserve more titles.
“Now we have won the title, we are going to have a balanced review of the whole year: the positive things, the negative things, where we can improve our squad. We must continue thinking as a big team.
“It was a beautiful, great season, but we always need to continue winning, continue improving and of course we are going to start working as soon as possible to be the strongest team next year.”
Despite the looming threat of Financial Fair Play sanctions from UEFA, the new champions’ financial clout means they are capable of becoming the dominant force in English football in the coming seasons.
To that end, Pellegrini and his entire staff and squad were scheduled to fly to Abu Dhabi on Monday for an end-of-season break, during which he will hold meetings with Sheikh Mansour, City’s primary owner.
“I don’t think this is the start of something because this club has been working very well for the past four years,” said Pellegrini.
“Before then, this was a big club with fans, but not a team that could fight for the title. The last four years, this has changed.”
Pellegrini has been widely praised for his level-headed approach to management, which is in stark contrast to that of combustible coaches such as his predecessor Roberto Mancini or Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho.
The fondness his players feel for him was evident at the final whistle when he was grabbed and thrown into the air for celebratory ‘bumps’.
Pellegrini said he had to improve the atmosphere after inheriting a fractured dressing room from Mancini last year.
“It was a moment to celebrate when we finished the game, so any kind of celebration is allowed,” he joked.
“But from the moment I arrived here, relations between players were not at the best moment and it was important to have calm and convince all of them how to play and how important it was to be very close, all of us, with the manager, players and fans, to try to win a very difficult title.”
Pellegrini’s side finished the season with 102 Premier League goals, an astonishing 156 in all competitions, and he revealed how important it had been to change the team’s philosophy.
“It is easy to score one goal then all go behind the ball and be a team that plays counter-attack. But for me, to win titles just in that way, I would not be happy,” he said.
“To win the title the way we did this season with 102 goals, with record goals in other competitions, is the way this team must play because of the quality of players we have.”