Manuel Pellegrini has confessed that it will be “difficult” for his Manchester City side to retain their Premier League crown this season.

The Sky Blues regained their place as English football’s top force last term as they edged out Liverpool in a tight race for top spot, which required them to get a positive result on the final day of the campaign.

Since then Pellegrini has added to his squad, with £32m defender Eliaquim Mangala the latest high-profile name to switch to the Etihad Stadium.

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With the season not yet underway, City are being dubbed favourites, alongside Chelsea, to come out on top of the pile next year, but the Chilean says that it will be tough for his side to repeat their success:

“I think we are ready to start. Maybe some players need some more days to be 100 per cent but the whole squad is ready to start the season.” He is quoted by Sky Sports.

“This year we have the advantage that I already know the players and they know me. We won the title but it is difficult for the team that wins the title to repeat it, but we will try to do it.”

City will kick off their title defence against Newcastle on Sunday.

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