Nigel de Jong admits the FA Cup celebrations took their toll mentally going into the Premier League clash with Stoke City.
What would normally have been the showpiece final game of the season was brought forward two weeks, and De Jong says it took the team time to clear their heads and get back to business so quickly.
“We were a little bit flat at first, partly due to the celebrations at the weekend and partly because this game came so quickly after the Final, but we knew what we had to do and we did it,” he said.
“We were focused and came out and did a professional job against Stoke, which wasn’t easy I think for either side for different reasons, but now all we are thinking about is winning our last game.
“We had two days celebrating winning the FA Cup win but we were professional enough to not overdo things and re-focus for the match against Stoke.
“It would make a huge difference finishing third because you don’t have to play a potentially difficult Champions League qualifying game as well as starting the season earlier, plus you are guaranteed to play in the group stages.
Now we have to go to Bolton, play to our maximum levels and take the three points that will be the perfect end to a fantastic season
De Jong knows Owen Coyle’s side will be pumped up against the Blues and the fact it is a derby will add spice the occasion, too.
City just edged the first meeting between the two clubs last December with a Carlos Tevez goal on three minutes enough to separate the sides on the day.
“It’s always tough against Bolton and they are strong on their own ground, but we have to go there, be mentally strong and give 100% because we can’t rely on Fulham beating Arsenal,” he said.
“If we do what we need to do we don’t need favours from anyone else. It’s been a long season but finishing third would be the cherry on the cake.”