It was either a lack of confidence or folly that saw Manuel Pellegrini seek a war of words with Jose Mourinho this weekend.
"It would be very disappointing—for football, for the fans, for everyone," Pellegrini said, per ESPN. "I think the most attractive football, the more goals you can score, should be rewarded.
"I'm not saying it's not important to defend very well. Football is attacking and defending. But I think big teams must play as big teams."
Perhaps the City boss wasn't expecting his side to lose the way it did at Anfield, wilting under the pressure of Liverpool's first-half onslaught. Perhaps he didn't consider where a defeat would leave his club's own title aspirations, which are now firmly up the creek.
Whatever Pellegrini's intentions, however, he's come away from the weekend's action red-faced. His comments had little impact other than serve to embarrass him, fanning the flames of his on-going feud with Mourinho in the process.
The pair's dislike for each other has been simmering for much of the campaign, and just like the race for honors, it seems things are ready to reach a crescendo.
Mourinho hasn't been without guilt, of course. After all, it is he who has goaded his opposite number at various stages, but it's the timing of Pellegrini's outburst that makes it all the more significant.
Is he feeling the weight of expectation? Is the shadow of Mourinho lurking over him like never before?
For a man of his intellect, it borders on petulance. Akin to an infant, he simply cannot bear to witness a rival succeed. If he can't win, then it's simply not fair that Mourinho should.
Anyone but Chelsea, please.
The fact is, Pellegrini can criticize Chelsea all he likes. He can endeavor to take the moral high ground based on his footballing values, but when they were put to the test this season, it was Mourinho's substance than won over Pellegrini's style.
Chelsea completed a Premier League double over City, winning 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in October before a tactical masterclass ended Pellegrini's unbeaten run at Etihad Stadium in February, as Branislav Ivanovic's goal separated the sides.
It may not have been swashbuckling stuff from Chelsea, yet it didn't need to be.
Mourinho identified a way to prevent City from winning and, in so doing, outclassed Pellegrini in his own backyard.
Far from being disappointing, it was rather impressive. It was a moment to be marveled.
In many ways, Mourinho and Chelsea are the perfect match. They always have been.
The Blues are a club that have shaken up the establishment this past decade. They've rampaged through English football to win titles and have taken their success onto the continent to win the Champions League.
They haven't made many friends in so doing, but that was never the intention. It's success they have craved.
Mourinho is no different.
We hear it said often how the league table doesn't lie. After 38 games over nine months, teams finish where they deserve.
It's quite simple, and whether it's Chelsea, Liverpool or even Manchester City, the best team would have won.
What can be disappointing about that?
Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes
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