Manuel Pellegrini is calm about the challenge of managing Manchester City, with the Chilean pointing to his experience in leading Real Madrid and River Plate previously in his career.

Pellegrini replaced the sacked Roberto Mancini in the close season, having been a manager for 25 years during which he has been in charge of 11 clubs in three countries across South America and Europe.

Asked if taking over City was the greatest challenge yet, Pellegrini said: "It is not fair to compare with another. I have worked in a lot of different leagues, very difficult leagues. To manage River Plate in Argentina is not easy. To manage Real Madrid in Spain is not easy. I am very excited about my new job but I don't want to compare. They are all very good leagues and I try to always give my best."

In his sole season at Real he finished second in 2010 with a record points tally of 96 before being replaced by José Mourinho, while Pellegrini previously claimed the Argentinian championship in his single campaign at River seven years earlier.

David Moyes and Mourinho became the respective managers of Manchester United and Chelsea this summer. As the former had 11 years at Everton and the latter won consecutive titles during a first spell at Chelsea, is Pellegrini at a disadvantage to his two main rivals given he has no Premier League experience? "No, I don't think it can be a problem for me. I have a lot of experience in different countries and know a lot of things about the Premier League, so I don't think I give it any easier to other managers," he said.

Pellegrini will feel no nerves as he takes charge of his opening league game, the Monday evening visit of Newcastle United. "No, absolutely no. I have a very good squad so I am not nervous," he said. "There is excitement. Nothing different as every year I start seasons in different countries."

After spells in his native Chile and Argentina, the 59-year-old took over at Villarreal in 2004, before managing Madrid and Málaga, giving him a total of nine years' experience of European football. What, then, does he know about English top-flight football? "I am always watching different matches so of all the Premier League teams I have the information I need here," the 59-year-old said, before confirming he watched as much as possible. "Yes, every week."

Pellegrini retains a firm faith in Joe Hart after his mistake in England's 3-2 friendly win over Scotland at Wembley last week that allowed James Morrison to score the opener. This followed Hart's uneven campaign last year.

While the manager was not referring specifically to Hart, he was clear that he selects any player on form. "The past is past. Of course there is last season but we have a new season now," said Pellegrini. "I hope Joe will have the performance we all know he has had in his whole career. We will see every match what will happen with him but I have a lot of trust in him. I don't worry about him.

"For me always we play the players who are giving the best performance and in the best moment. My teams does not play by name, they play by performance. For the whole team, the 22 players are exactly the same. I am not talking about anyone special."

Gareth Barry, who is in the final year of his contract, can leave if he wishes though Pellegrini suggested the midfielder wants to fight for a place. "It depends on what he wants. In his position I have also [Jack] Rodwell, [Javi] García, Yaya [Touré], Fernandinho. But I spoke with Gareth, he wants to stay here and he does not have any problems to fight for his position like other players in the squad.

"If he wants to go because he has better options, it depends on what he wants to do. He is here and in the squad and we will try to use it the whole year, depending on the performance of all the players."

With Pellegrini interested in adding a central defender, Real's Pepe and Martin Demichelis of Atlético Madrid have been mentioned, though in response to the latter, he said: "Who? I don't know at the moment."