Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini may well be departing English football soon, however, he still retains the affection of his squad, according to goalkeeper Joe Hart.
After being football's worst kept secret for months, Pep Guardiola has agreed on a three-year contract to succeed Pellegrini at the Etihad this summer.
But Hart insists the City squad are determined to give their current manager a fitting send-off, whilst playing down the potential distraction of Guardiola's impending arrival.
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Speaking after the 1-0 win over Sunderland, the England keeper said: “The news was never going to be a distraction.
“We’re here to win titles and Manuel’s here to win titles. We back Manuel and we love him. Next season is next season.”
Last night's result, against a highly organised Sam Allardyce team, may prove invaluable as City chase their third Premier League title in five seasons. Rivals Arsenal were held 0-0 at home to Southampton, whilst table toppers Leicester City must travel to the Etihad this weekend.
With six goals in his last five league appearances, star striker Sergio Aguero has looked back to his best recently, whilst City's superior experience of competing in a title race should stand them in good stead.
Pellegrini remaining level-headed
However, like his goalkeeper Pellegrini is intent on not focusing on the future, insisting instead: “It will be difficult to stay in all the competitions but the team are believing in the project.
“We are not thinking about the future. We are thinking about this season and the present, not next season. There was no extra emotion for me and it has not been a difficult week.
“The players and me will wait to see what happens next season. We wanted to win and demonstrate that we can defend as well."
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