Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is confident his players will not be affected by rumours linking outgoing Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola with his job.
Speculation that Guardiola could be headed for City has intensified since the Spaniard announced over the weekend that he would be leaving Munich in the summer.
But Pellegrini, who is used to such stories, has previously said they do not concern him and he is also sure his squad will not be unsettled by the uncertainty.
The Chilean, whose contract at the Etihad Stadium expires in 2017, said: “I don’t think players (only) work for the manager – they work for the group, themselves, because they want to win.
“You have a good connection (with the players) and that is the most important thing to be a good manager, but I don’t think that a professional player will have any problems if he is listening or reading about things that may happen next year.
“If they do they are not professional players, they are not top players. So I am absolutely sure nobody in the squad has any problems or doubts about what we’re doing and after that we’ll see what happens in the future.”
But Pellegrini, who took over at City in 2013 and won the Premier League in his first season, is well aware of how quickly his situation could change and is focusing only on his team.
He said: “I don’t know the word pressure or afraid. In this line of work you will never know the future, if you win or lose. It’s never your decision so you never know.
“Look at Chelsea, three months ago nobody could have known this would happen. So you don’t think about that. You must work, try to work well, win titles and win games.
“I will know exactly what will happen in the future with myself at the right moment, but at this minute I’m not thinking about talking about my future.
“I’m thinking about winning the games, trying to finish this season and the four competitions we’re involved in and to win titles. And after that it doesn’t depend on you.”
City slipped up on Monday as they were beaten at title rivals Arsenal. They now go into Christmas six points behind leaders Leicester and four adrift of the second-placed Gunners.
But Pellegrini is cheered by the news that influential captain Vincent Kompany is back in contention for the Boxing Day clash with Sunderland after eight games out with a calf injury. Pablo Zabaleta and Fernando are also available again after lay-offs.
Striker Sergio Aguero is poised to continue up front, but after an ineffectual display at the Emirates Stadium – on his return from a heel injury – Pellegrini accepts he cannot play the full game.
He said: “He will not play maybe the 90 minutes for three or four games. He must be working but he was ready to play.”
Wilfried Bony has voiced his frustration that he had to make way for Aguero at Arsenal, but Pellegrini claims there is no unrest.
He said: “I think every player that doesn’t play is always disappointed but I’m sure Bony and all the players respect my decision.”