Questions were asked of City's temperament last season as they failed to mount a credible defence of the Barclays Premier League title they won in 2012, eventually finishing a distant second to United.
But as he prepares for City’s first major test of the season in Sunday’s Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium, Pellegrini has no concerns about the winning mentality of the side he inherited in the summer.
Pellegrini said: “I don’t know what happened in the past but I know that our mentality in this moment is very strong, so strong or more strong than Manchester United.”
The significance of the derby in terms of both local rivalry and the wider context of the title race is not lost on Pellegrini. He is well aware of the importance of victory even if he knows there are other, equally important, tests ahead.
“It is very important to win, (against) one of the most important teams. It is more important to win than not to lose. Of course if you cannot win it is better not to lose, but we will try to win from the beginning.
For me, it’s very important to win against Manchester United.” Sunday’s clash will be the first Manchester derby since 1986 in which Ferguson will not be in the United dugout.