'I know nothing!' – Stubborn Pellegrini plays dumb over De Bruyne arrival

The City boss insisted he had nothing to say on the Belgium international, who arrived in Manchester on Saturday afternoon to complete a medical ahead of his big-money move

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini refused to acknowledge his club’s impending move for Kevin De Bruyne, insisting he knows nothing about a potential transfer for the Belgium international.

City beat Watford 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday to increase their lead at the top of the Premier League and extend their winning run to 10 matches, a club record.

De Bruyne arrived in Manchester on Saturday afternoon to complete his protracted big-money move – he will cost around £56 million – but Pellegrini was determined to give nothing away, even in the face of increased questioning.

The full transcript of the exchange is as follows…

Journalist: “Is there any news on Kevin De Bruyne? There’s been a photo of him arriving in Manchester…”

Pellegrini: “I don’t have any news. Do you have any, do you have news?”

Journalist: There’s a photograph of him arriving in Manchester for his medical.

MP: “Really I don’t know, I was seeing the game, sorry.”

Journalist 2: “What will Kevin De Bruyne bring you? Do you need De Bruyne?”

MP: “I will answer the same way I answer all the questions that the other journalists ask me about… rumours. I can’t talk about rumours.”

Journalists: “It’s not a rumour!”

MP: “It’s not a rumour? We signed him? Contract? The press think that I know. I’ll repeat because he’s not signed.”

Journalist: “He’s not signing?”

MP: “I don’t know, I never knew… I suppose that someone has contacted me to say we can talk about that player because we signed him. I can say what I want, I cannot say what you want, I can’t talk about a thing that nobody has ever told me, that he has signed his contract.”

Journalist 2: “You must know he’s in Manchester…”

City press officer: “Gentlemen, sorry, sorry!”

MP: “What?”

Journalist 2: “You must know he’s in Manchester…”

MP: “I was involved in the game, I’m not thinking about what happens in Manchester. I was thinking about what happened in the 90 minutes against Watford.”

Speaking about the match itself, Pellegrini was pleased to see his tactical tweak pay off after he introduced Samir Nasri at half-time and moved Raheem Sterling central.

The former Liverpool man duly opened the scoring, and Pellegrini says unexpectedly returning to 4-4-2, after playing 4-2-3-1 since derby defeat in April, caught Watford off guard.

“I think it was important at half-time to make a change, we had a lot of possession but didn’t create many chances, because – especially against Raheem – they had very tight marking,” he said.

“I think that making that change with Nasri on the left side, making David [Silva] more free on their left side, where they have less markers, and playing Kun [Aguero] with Raheem is the way that we must try, and especially at the start of the first half when they didn’t know what we were going to do.

“So we changed, some of you asked me last press conference if playing 4-2-3-1 was the reason why we are winning, but today we returned to 4-4-2 in order to win. So I think tactics is not the problem, it’s the performance of the players.”