Caretaker manager Brian Kidd heaped praise on Manchester City's players after they secured victory that guaranteed second place less than 24 hours after Roberto Mancini was sacked.
Having won the Barclays Premier League in such amazing circumstances last year, City have returned to earth with a bump this term. Saturday's shock FA Cup final defeat to Wigan proved to be the final straw for the City hierarchy, who on Monday night called time on Mancini's three-and-a-half-year reign at the Etihad Stadium.
The Italian's sacking meant former assistant Kidd took charge of Tuesday night's clash with Reading - a match City won 2-0 courtesy of strikes by Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko, and Kidd said: "What has gone on in the last 24 hours was a shock to the staff, and before the game I would have just taken the result, to get the three points and take second place."
He added: "It's all credit to the players - they are the ones who have had to put up with stuff off the pitch. I am pleased for them because it would have been a travesty if we hadn't finished second.
"I was asked to take charge for two games, and, being a Manchester lad, I couldn't say no. I wouldn't have been able to walk down Market Street if I had.
"You'd have to ask the players how they feel. We appreciate the fans, and they were disappointed, and we were disappointed, on Saturday. What you've seen is a combination of a couple of things, but I think it was a relief because it has been a tough 48 hours."
As well as the perfect response to losing Mancini, Tuesday night was a welcome return to winning ways after the disappointment of losing at Wembley.
"To be honest, the three points was the most important thing," Kidd said. "When you get to this stage of the season it's not about performances, but getting results and it was on my mind that we needed to seal that second spot in the league.
"That's the least we could do, and the staff, the fans and the players did it for the club. I was pleased with the way the players acknowledged the fans, but those players really appreciated it.
"There were 1,300 of them at Reading, disappointed after Wembley, but they turned out and you could hear them. The players and the backroom staff have been terrific."