Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart claimed the players “love” having Manuel Pellegrini as their manager – a day after his departure and Pep Guardiola’s arrival were announced.
City won 1-0 at Sunderland on Tuesday night, with the Chilean claiming it was ‘business as usual’ as they chase an unlikely quadruple of trophies.
“It was never going to be a distraction. We’re here to win titles, Manuel’s here to win titles,” said England international Hart. “We back him, we love him as our manager.
“We appreciate we have a job to do this season. Next season is next season.”
Pellegrini said: “I don’t think we must link both things. One is what will happen in the future, but we are living in the present. We are all thinking about this season – we will see after that what happens next season for the players and me.
“The most important thing was the character of the team was to come here and win this game and to demonstrate that we can defend also very well if we want.
“I always feel the commitment of all the players to our project. We are living a very good season. We hope we can finish in the same way.
“Maybe every game that we play will be more difficult to continue in all the competitions, but I feel that the squad is fully committed to the project, so I am very happy about that also.”
Sergio Aguero’s 16th-minute strike ultimately settled a tight game, during which goalkeeper Hart had to make important saves from Jermain Defoe – who had run-ins with both Martin Demichelis and Nicolas Otamendi – Billy Jones and substitute Wahbi Khazri.