Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has criticised Manchester City's football philosophy and has vowed not to follow the Premier League leaders' blueprint for success.
The bullish Portuguese coach, who has the worst win rate of all the managers under Roman Abramovich's era, stated that City manager Roberto Mancini's approach was more suitable for Italy's Serie A, where Mancini previously managed at Internazionale.
He told Portuguese radio station TSF: "I refuse to build a team like City, I don't like the standards of their football. City is a very organised, efficient, well-balanced team. All they want right now is to be champions. There's an exact formula to be successful in Premier League, and that's what City is doing right now: attacking efficiency above all.
"They are an Italian team, they follow the Italian standards. If I saw them playing in Italy, I would say that's where they actually belong."
Villas-Boas has received backing from his latest managerial conquest, Owen Coyle:
In the interview, broadcast last night, Villas-Boas played down conjecture surrounding his position at the club after a winless run of five matches recently, ended at the weekend via a 3-0 victory at home to Bolton Wanderers. He has been criticised by Chelsea players for his tactics and man-management, with midfielder Frank Lampard admitting that the relationship with his coach is "not ideal".
Instead he drew parallels to the position his predecessor, Carlo Ancelotti, was in last season. Although Chelsea were 12 points adrift of top place at this stage last season, as opposed to the 17 point deficit between them and the summit now.
He candidly talked about his future at Chelsea beyond the current campaign also, identifying Brazilian striker Hulk, whom he managed at Porto, as a potential summer transfer target.
Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou are two Blues strikers out of contract this summer, making the addition of a striker a priority, with Daniel Sturridge and the misfiring Fernando Torres the only other recognised forwards.
Hulk, 25, has an £84m release clause, and Villas Boas is keen for "someone who is strong in one-on-one situations and Hulk fits that profile". This would enable Juan Mata to play in his preferred role as a treqaurtista, rather than on the left wing.