LONDON (Reuters) – Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini will not miss sacked Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho but agreed with his top-flight peers on Friday that the Premier League has suffered a big loss.
The pair clashed regularly during their title battles, with Pellegrini accusing Mourinho of wanting to “take credit for everything” when Chelsea won the league last season.
Asked about Chelsea’s decision to axe Mourinho following nine losses in 16 league games this season, Pellegrini stopped short of a ringing endorsement of the Portuguese who described City’s 3-0 win over the champions this season as a “fake” result.
“It’s a difficult situation,” Pellegrini, who last year criticised Mourinho for playing defensive football, told a news conference on Friday.
“The Premier League has lost an important manager. Maybe I disagree with him on a lot of things but he’s not my enemy. It’s a bad thing for the Premier League.”
“It’s not for me to miss him but the Premier League will miss him. The Premier league is better with Mourinho.
“I manage the team in a very different way to the way he does but that doesn’t mean he’s not a good manager or important for the league.”
Others were more generous.
“I was surprised and disappointed in a way,” West Bromwich Albion’s Tony Pulis told his news conference.
“The Premier League is a diversity of all different styles and characters and he is and has been one of the top managers in the world. A great character, a great personality, and he is a big loss to the Premier League.”
West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic, who got the better of Mourinho this year, said it was a warning to the rest.
“I can only say about Mourinho that I’m definitely surprised,” he said.
“Mourinho going shows nobody is safe. You have to enjoy your job, do your best and work hard for the club you are in.”
“It’s a big loss for the league and the Premier League is going to miss him. I really hope he is not lost because we’ll miss him a lot,” the Croat added.
Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe, who claimed a shock 1-0 win over Mourinho’s Chelsea this month to add to their woes, said Mourinho had succumbed to the trend that has resulted in five Premier League coaches leaving so far this season.
“He won the league last year, so you can’t say that it didn’t work out for him,” Howe said.
“He just went through a disappointing spell of results. In modern day football, it is the hardest time to manage. One result can swing opinions. You have to have a level-headed chairman and support from above.”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)