Pellegrini in a relaxed and confident mood ahead of opener

Manuel Pellegrini is in a relaxed mood ahead of Manchester City's start to the season. Photo: PA

Manuel Pellegrini is ready to hit the ground the running as his Manchester City career begins in earnest this week.

The Chilean has slipped effortlessly into the managerial hotseat vacated at the Etihad Stadium by Roberto Mancini at the end of last season.

Pellegrini already claims to feel at home and is comfortable with his squad as he prepares to launch their Barclays Premier League campaign at home to Newcastle on Monday.

The 59-year-old has a daunting challenge ahead of him having been told the club not only want to win the biggest prizes, but want to do so in style and with a harmonious dressing room.

He also has a host of other responsibilities relating to City's much-noted "holistic approach" to all footballing matters but none of this fazes him.

The former Villarreal, Real Madrid and Malaga boss said: "It is my first time here in England and it is a different league.

"(Whether it is) more difficult or less difficult we will see during the year, but for me (it is) exactly the same.

"I worked for nine years in Europe and I saw a lot of matches in the Premier League every weekend.

"I played in the Champions League against English Premier League teams so I know a lot about this.

"And living here now, of course, I see more."

The mood at the club has been transformed since the turbulent final weeks of the last campaign when, with the title already surrendered, City lost the FA Cup final and Mancini was sacked.

There was widespread dismay at Mancini's removal just a year after winning the Premier League but Pellegrini's calmness, composure and confidence has done much to win people over.

With nearly £90million spent on new players Fernandinho, Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic, there is also a freshness about the squad.

Captain Vincent Kompany has noticed the difference.

The Belgium international told BT Sport: "I think I look at our squad and I am really pleased with the kind of players we have got in. They are not just great players but great characters.

"Already they have done some unbelievable stuff in pre-season, not just in the games but in training as well.

"The character just fits perfectly. In any team I want to compete on every level, which means you need players who are just positive and always ready to keep going."

Kompany is also enjoying working under Pellegrini, who guided Villarreal and Malaga to the latter stages of the Champions League and has a strong reputation for man-management.

When asked for his thoughts on the new manager, the 27-year-old said: "A lot of class, a man with a very soft touch in the sense that he kind of knows what to say at the right time.

"His training sessions have been brilliant so far."

Pellegrini is expected to reshape the City side and urge them to play in a more fluid style.

The team are thought likely to play in a basic 4-3-3 formation but Pellegrini claims that is far too simplistic a description.

He said: "I am very flexible. I don't have to play every week exactly the same.

"We will see for a lot of reasons which is the best one. I am not afraid of playing different ways because the team is prepared to."

City were joint favourites along with Chelsea for the title prior to the season kicking off with champions Manchester United third and Arsenal a distant fourth.

Pellegrini, however, is convinced the race is wide open.

When asked who he anticipated as rivals, he said: "Normally the same clubs that every year are trying to win the Premier League - Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham.

"All of them are important but always, every year, a club has a surprise. Maybe another club can do it this year."

Yet when asked if he was confident of City's chances, he said: "Of course."