MANCHESTER -- Manuel Pellegrini has said it would be unfair for anyone to call Frank Lampard a traitor for leaving Chelsea and returning to the Premier League with Manchester City.
Lampard, 36 -- Chelsea's record goalscorer -- has joined the Premier League champions on loan from New York City FC for the first half of the English season, a move confirmed earlier this week.
While that means Lampard could be competing against his old club, Pellegrini insists the Londoners have only themselves to blame after opting not to extend his contract.
The Chilean told a news conference: "I don't understand the reaction of Chelsea fans who say he is a traitor because he is not at Chelsea.
"The problem was not that Frank Lampard didn't want to sign another contract with Chelsea -- Chelsea didn't want him any more. He wants to continue playing."
Pellegrini defended City after Arsene Wenger voiced concerns that signing Lampard was an attempt to get around limits on spending imposed because they failed UEFA's financial fair play measures.
He added: "I think that, as a manager, we have enough problems with our teams without talking about other teams.
"I will not answer that but I can say we have important restrictions about the amount of money and the amount of players. We didn't spend any money in bringing Frank Lampard from New York City to Manchester. He was a free player."
Pellegrini guided City to the Premier League title and the Capital One Cup in his first season in charge but, with four new recruits, he believes he now has a better group of players.
He added: "The four players that have arrive for the moment -- Willy Caballero, [Bacary] Sagna, Frank Lampard and Fernando, will be very important for us."
City have been closing in on Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala for several weeks, but a 32 million-pound deal has still not been finalised.
Pellegrini said: "I always say the same answer -- when things are finished, we can talk about that."