Manchester City: Manuel Pellegrini confident of Premier League title

Manuel Pellegrini
Pellegrini cited the absence of several Man City stars as influential in the Community Shield defeat

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini says he remains optimistic about his team's chances of retaining the Premier League title despite their comprehensive Community Shield defeat.

City, who start their defence at Newcastle on Sunday, were beaten 3-0 by Arsenal at Wembley on Sunday.

Pellegrini told BBC Sport: "Five or six teams have the chance to win but we have a stronger squad than last year.

"We hope we can repeat it but we have to demonstrate that on the pitch."

A section of City's squad only returned to training last week following their break after the World Cup.

Manchester City's first six Premier League matches
17 August: Newcastle (a)
25 August: Liverpool (h)
30 August: Stoke (h)
13 September: Arsenal (a)
21 September: Chelsea (h)
27 September: Hull (a)

Pellegrini felt that the absence of a host of players, including striker Sergio Aguero and defenders Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna had an impact on City's display.

He added: "The team that started isn't the normal starting XI and we have a week more to work.

"The season starts next Sunday. I think it's always good to win the Community Shield but Arsenal played better than us, especially in the first half.

"In the second half we had possession and chances to score but we didn't."

Pellegrini started with new signing Willy Caballero in goal and suggested that England number one Joe Hart, last season's first choice, must prove he is better than the 32-year-old Argentine.

He said: "All the 22 players that we have in our squad must demonstrate who is number one in all the positions.

"The goalkeeper and the other positions of the team are exactly the same. Joe finished last season playing very well. We'll see next Sunday which XI starts against Newcastle."