Joe Hart declared his admiration for Manuel Pellegrini after Manchester City secured a 1-0 win over Sunderland a day after his impending departure was announced by the club.
On Monday, City confirmed Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola would replace Pellegrini as manager from next season.
Hart did not feel the announcement compromised the team in their victory over Sunderland on Tuesday, insisting the players will continue to give their all for the Chilean, who he says the squad has the utmost respect for.
“Yesterday’s news was never going to be a distraction,” Hart said.
“We’re here to win titles and Manuel’s here to win titles. We back him all the way and we love him as our manager. We appreciate we’ve got a job to do, next season is next season.”
Hart made important saves from Jermain Defoe and Billy Jones in either half, and he felt City’s dogged defending displayed their commitment to Pellegrini.
“There were a couple of good saves but some fantastic defending at the end when their new lad [Wahbi Khazri] whipped in some dangerous balls,” he added.
“The boys put their bodies on the line for each other and for the manager – we are one and we are going to keep on fighting.”
Pellegrini felt his team looked lethargic during their third game in seven days but was pleased by keeping pace with leaders Leicester City, who beat Liverpool 2-0.
“It was a tough game. This is a team who are fighting relegation. They will play every game like a final,” he said.
“It is not our style to play with nine defenders but it was our third game in a week and it was impossible to have a high pace with all our injuries. It was better to defend well and concentrate.
“It is an important three points and now we have to play Leicester at home and they are still the leaders.”
Pellegrini will assess the fitness of Jesus Navas, who was substituted with an apparent hamstring injury 14 minutes from time.
The Spain international would join fellow attacking midfielders Kevin De Bruyne (knee) and Samir Nasri (hamstring) in missing the Leicester match.