Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini believes the announcement of Pep Guardiola's appointment as his successor is to blame for their Barclays Premier League title bid flopping.
News of Pellegrini's exit and the arrival of the Bayern Munich coach broke on February 1, and was followed by damaging back-to-back defeats to Leicester and Tottenham which derailed their bid for top spot.
He told the Daily Mirror: "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."
He continued: "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.
"But 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."
Chelsea team: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic (c), Baba Rahman; Mikel, Fabregas; Willian, Loftus-Cheek, Pedro; Diego Costa. #CFC
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Manchester City match-winner Kevin De Bruyne is hoping the club can build on their Champions League semi-final place.
The Belgian ensured City saw off Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 on aggregate by netting the only goal of the game at the Etihad on Tuesday.
I think it is huge. Everybody has talked about the Champions League and to be in the semi-finals is a great achievement.
But it is not done yet. We are looking forward to the semis. It is only two games away from the final. We will try to do everything to reach the final.
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Reports this week suggest Man City are in advanced talks to sign Ilkay Gundogan, and looking at these stats provided by Oulala we're not surprised at all.
The Dortmund man is also said to be a target for his former manager in Germany, Jurgen Klopp, who would love to add him to Liverpool's midfield next season.
By comparing his league stats this season with those of Man City's midfielders, it's easy to see why Guardiola has identified Gundogan as his number one target.
The German international has completed more successful take-ons per game, passes per game and interceptions per game than Yaya Toure, Fernandinho, Fernando and Fabian Delph.
Out of those City midfielders, only Toure has created more chances per game than Gundogan, whose appeal to Guardiola will centre on his ability to provide City's more attacking players with the ideal conditions to express themselves.
- Stats provided by Oulala
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has been ruled out of his side's Champions League quarter-final second leg against Paris St Germain at the Etihad Stadium.
The Belgium defender, out for the past month with a calf problem, has been involved in training but Tuesday's game has come around too soon.
Playmaker David Silva (ankle) is fit to return after being rested at the weekend while defender Nicolas Otamendi should overcome a twisted ankle. Raheem Sterling (groin) remains on the sidelines and fellow forward Samir Nasri is ineligible.
Provisional squad: Hart, Caballero, Sagna, Zabaleta, Otamendi, Mangala, Demichelis, Kolarov, Clichy, Toure, Fernando, Fernandinho, Delph, De Bruyne, Silva, Navas, M Garcia, Aguero, Bony, Iheanacho.
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