City stars retain focus despite Pep talk: Pellegrini
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.
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."
But Pellegrini, who took over at City in 2013 and won the Barclays Premier League in his first season, is well aware of how quickly his situation could change.
He said: "It's never your decision so you never know.
"Look at Chelsea, three months ago nobody could have known this would happen."
City slipped up on Monday, beaten 2-1 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 captain Vincent Kompany is back in contention for the Boxing Day clash at home to Sunderland after eight games out with a calf injury. Pablo Zabaleta and Fernando are also available.
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.
Pellegrini said: "He will not play maybe the 90 minutes for three or four games."