WF Quotes of the Week: Manuel Pellegrini Revels in Premier League Triumph
It will have been deemed little more than a formality for some, but Manchester City remained vigilant in their quest for Premier League glory this weekend, taking a second title in three years following a 2-0 win over West Ham.
Both figures from inside and outside the club react to that achievement in a Premier League-heavy edition of our quotes of the week.
We also hear what FA chairman Greg Dyke thinks about the low number of English players among City's ranks and what it means for the national team, as well as Kevin Grosskreutz's apology for hurling fast food at an offending supporter.
Manuel Pellegrini: 'This Was a Special Season for Us'
Having taken a Premier League trophy from his maiden campaign in England, one might think that Pellegrini would be tempted to sit back and bask in his achievement for now.
But the Chilean tactician is already looking to new horizons, quoted by Rob Parrish of Sky Sports as praising his team but also ensuring the England giants don't get complacent in their ways:
This was a special season for us, because we have not been at the top of the table because we had games postponed and we didn't start very well. One of the most important things we did this year was when we finished playing our sixth game away and we had just one point from 18.
I told the players we have to change (the results), but we have to play this way, because I think it's the way you must play. They believed in me and they continued playing and I think from then until the end we are the team with the most points playing away.
When you achieve the title the whole year comes down to the hard work that we did during the difficult moments of the year, but I think that this was the best team in the Premier League.
For Pellegrini, it's now a case of ensuring the same lofty standards are maintained in the campaigns to come, with expectations upon him now higher than ever.
Kevin Grosskreutz: 'It Would Have Been Better If I Hadn't Thrown the Doner'
Grosskreutz has apologised to the Cologne fan whom he hit in the face with a doner kebab whilst on a night out with Borussia Dortmund teammate Julian Schieber.
That's according to Enis Koylu of Goal.com, with the versatile midfielder quoted in shedding some light on the contentious matter:
"I perceived the situation as insulting and it offended my privacy. Of course, it would have been better if I hadn't thrown the doner in public. There is no doubt that this situation isn't ideal. I'm sorry."
Koylu's piece details that a group of young Cologne fans were singing songs alleged to be in mockery over Grosskreutz, to which he would appear to have found exception.
The fan in question has filed a complaint with police, and it's understood that damages are being sought after he stated that his "eyes were burning" as a result of the kebab "attack."
Noel Gallagher on City Triumph: 'It Proves We're Not a Flash in the Pan Anymore'
Noel Gallagher sits as one of Manchester City's longer-standing celebrity fans, and there were few enjoying the club's second Premier League title in three years as much as he was.
BBC Radio 5 Live's Mark Pougatch got the ex-Oasis band member's thoughts on the matter firsthand, an accolade which he thinks cements his club's stature as a genuine European powerhouse:
This shows we're not a flash in a pan, like Blackburn that season and Leeds in the old Division One. Samir Nasri's goal was great, this was great and we ran the clock down.
And I've got Vincent Kompany's captain's armband - I saw him in the tunnel and blagged it off him!
For Gallagher, these are the kind of glory days he will have been dreaming to experience as a boyhood Citizen, and after all these years, he's the figure wearing the captain's armband when all comes to a head.
FA Chairman Greg Dyke Calls City's Lack of English Stars 'Depressing'
Not everyone is as over the moon with Manchester City's growth, however, as Dyke sees the downside of such an outcome, or more what it means to the English national team.
City's spending in recent years has meant that a very high percentage of the club's playing staff come from outside of England.
It's been a great league this year. But, if there is only one England player, maybe two [in City's team], that's pretty depressing. I think the figures that we produced showed the top four averaged 29 [English players between them] and this year it is down to 24 – we should be worried about that.
This summer's World Cup could serve in either vindicating or disproving Dyke's fears to an extent, with Roy Hodgson's brigade facing a baptism of fire in their opening group fixture against England.
Cesare Prandelli: 'Wouldn't Take Any England Players' over His Italians
Speaking of that tournament opener, Cesare Prandelli was quizzed this week on his side's first World Cup opponents, giving an extremely confident demeanour in the buildup to what promises to be an impacting matchup.
The Azzurri helmsman was talking to Fox Sports (h/t the Mail Online's Jonny Singer) when asked if he would trade any of his players for those of England, responding:
They are a very, very strong team. Hodgson has found some very interesting players. In particular when you consider them from a physical perspective. They are very technical and resistant.
Which players would I take from the English? They have some interesting young players. Until around a year ago no one thought they would be able to make an impression in the Premier League. But I wouldn’t take anyone to have instead of my own players. We are a good team too.
One wonders what Hodgson's response would be were he to be asked the same question regarding his upcoming opponents, with Prandelli adding some extra fuel to the fire.
Arsene Wenger: 'I Will Be Here Next Season'
Arsene Wenger's expiring contract at the Emirates Stadium has made for one of Arsenal's most-talked-about topics in recent months, but the Frenchman gave the most candid response possible this week.
When asked whether or not he'd be remaining at the helm of the club next season, Wenger replied, per George Ankers of Goal.com:
"Yes, [I will be here next season]. I have told you many times, my word is my word."
As the longest-serving manager in the English top flight, there is reason to believe Wenger when he stamps his intent to remain in the role.
That being said, any extension of his contract is bound to incite debate in north London, with Arsenal again failing to capitalise on early campaign pressure, relying on an FA Cup final opposite Hull City in order to eradicate a nine-year silverware drought.
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