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Manuel Pellegrini says Pep Guardiola announcement contributed to Manchester City's decline

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Manchester City have had a disappointing season, to say the least. Considered big favorites to win the Premier League at the start of the campaign, the Citizens were never able to consistently prove the initial predictions, with injuries and overall bad play leading to painful losses and very little chances of winning the title.

But now, finally, the team seems to be on a good run of form. Five unbeaten games including three straight domestic wins have the Sky Blues close to securing a spot in next season's Champions League while competing for the European Cup's title this term as one of the semifinalists. There is widespread agreement that this should have been a better season, though.

One of the possible factors for the inconsistency of City's performance is the revealing of the worst kept secret in football: the arrival of Pep Guardiola in the summer. Back in February, the announcement was made, which clearly let everyone know current manager Manuel Pellegrini would leave at season's end. Immediately after the news broke, City lost two crucial league games to Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City which had a big impact on the title race.

But being the gentleman that he is, Pellegrini never blamed Guardiola's announcement for City's bad run of form. Until now.

"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."

Pellegrini, source: Daily Mirror

After those struggling times, Pellegrini and his men have finally found their best football, which included a 3-0 destruction of Chelsea last Saturday. As the Chilean reaches the final month of his City career, he wants it to end on a high. Maybe with a trophy or two.

"I think the merit of this squad is always that it had a lot of character, personality. We never give up, we continue in the same way, and I hope we will see in the future in the Champions League — I am sure this team, playing in this way, can play in the final.

"We must try to finish now playing this way, trying to be as near as possible at the top of the table, trying to play the final of the Champions League and we will finish a good season if we win two titles."