Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho termed his team's 3-0 Premier League defeat at the hand of last season's runner-ups Manchester City as a "fake" result, even as Man City boss Manuel Pellegrini attributed Sunday's victory to his players being "hungry and angry" after being eclipsed by Chelsea last season.
"What happened last season was maybe a good experience. Now they have that desire to win every game and the only way to do it is to play consistently for 90 minutes," the Chilean told reporters after his side stormed to the top of the table.
Sergio Aguero looked lean and mean as he found space that did not seem to exist to fire City ahead before halftime and after Chelsea's attempts at a fightback had been repelled, captain Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho scored late on to emphasise City's superiority.
Fernandinho even managed to provoke Chelsea striker Diego Costa to near boiling point with a flying elbow just before halftime, leaving the Spaniard bloodied.
City collected four yellow cards in all, two more than Chelsea, as they put down a clear statement of intent.
They are now the bookmakers favourites at 11-8 to reclaim the title they won in 2011-12 and 2013-14.
In truth, City could have had the points in the bag before halftime -- such was their domination.
Manchester City's Belgian defender Vincent Kompany (L) during the English Premier League football match with Chelsea at The Etihad stadium in Manchester, on August 16, 2015. Manchester City won the game 3-0 (AFP PHOTO)
"It is very satisfying because it's not easy to beat the champions. Chelsea are the best team -- they won the title last season -- and in the first 45 minutes, we really deserved at least three goals," Pellegrini told a news conference.
A listless display at City's Etihad Stadium, particularly in the first half, allowed Chelsea's main title rivals to steal a march and move five points clear in Mourinho's joint-heaviest defeat as a Premier League manager.
The biggest bombshell, however, was long-term captain and defensive colossus John Terry being substituted at halftime for tactical reasons -- the first time Mourinho had ever taken his trusty skipper off in the heat of battle.
"3-0 is completely fake," Mourinho told reporters.
Speaking to Chelsea's TV channel later, he added: "In the second half we controlled every aspect of the game.
"Then one corner, one mistake and 2-0. The best team in the first half won and the best team in the second half lost."
Terry's position in the team will dominate the week ahead as Chelsea prepare to face West Bromwich Albion.
"I had to decide on John or (Gary) Cahill because Zouma is the fastest player we have in our defensive line," Mourinho explained of his decision to hook Terry.
His Chilean counterpart, however, attributed his team's victory to better tactics on the pitch.
"We played better and 3-0 is the minimum we deserved."