Manuel Pellegrini has finally blamed the early announcement of Pep Guardiola’s arrival as his successor for the defeats which knocked Manchester City out of the title race.
City confirmed the signing of Bayern Munich boss Guardiola on Monday February 1, after Pellegrini had announced at the end of a pre-match press conference he’d be leaving in the summer – and then lost home games to title rivals Leicester and Spurs in the following fortnight.
The Etihad outfit won only one of six Premier League matches from February 6 onwards, until the victory at Bournemouth on April 2.
And the outgoing Chilean coach claimed it took time to re-establish stability before their current five-match unbeaten run which has seen them through to the Champions League semi-final and back into the top four.
After Saturday’s crushing 3-0 away win at outgoing champions Chelsea, Pellegrini ended his diplomatic stance over his sacking by claiming: “Of course for different reasons we lost important games in February, against Leicester and Tottenham – two games which do not allow us to be involved in the title.
“I am frustrated because we never expected to lose those games at home against Leicester and Tottenham. But there are a lot of reasons why those things happened, it’s not normal in the way we are going to finish the season.
“At the start of February there was news about the change of the manager, about players who will not continue here next season, about a lot of things that involved the minds of all the players.
“We had those defeats at home, but now we are stable again and very happy to finish playing the way we have in these last games.
“It’s not easy for the players when you read in newspapers all things that will happen next season — all the players who will go out, all the players that will come in. It’s not easy for the players to focus their mind.”