Manuel Pellegrini insists Manchester City can take the English Premier League title race down to the wire because Liverpool and Chelsea will drop more points before the end of the season. City are title outsiders after a 3-2 defeat at leaders Liverpool and then a 2-2 draw with Sunderland in midweek left them six points off top spot.
That gap will become nine points if Liverpool win at Norwich on Sunday. But Pellegrini, whose team host West Bromwich Albion in a must-win fixture on Monday, is sure City still have a chance to overhaul the leaders because the unpredictable nature of the season suggests Liverpool and Chelsea could both slip up before the race is run.
Pellegrini's assessment was made before Chelsea slumped to a 2-1 defeat at home to Sunderland on Saturday, a shock result which confirmed his theory. It also opened the door for City to move closer to the second-placed Blues, who are currently four points ahead of the Eastlands outfit having played two games more.
"I am absolutely sure the other teams will drop points in the same way we did in the last game. We have 15 more points to play for and we will try and win the most amount of points," Pellegrini said. "Then, at the end of the season, we will see who has the title. All of us want to win as much as we can. We must try to finish this season in the best way.
"The game against Sunderland was a disappointment because we always want to win but as I said before that game, playing against relegation-threatened teams during the last games of the season is not easy. The performance in every game is very important and I hope we are going to improve our performance against West Brom."
Pellegrini wants City to guard against complacency and midfielder James Milner is certain West Brom will offer a similar test to Sunderland as they battle to pull away from the relegation zone.
"West Brom will be a tough game and we have to bounce back after a tough couple of moments in the season," Milner said. "We need to make sure we keep fighting, which we will do. It's probably a similar game to Sunderland and they're going to come and look to hit us on the break like a lot of teams do."
City's David Silva is doubtful with the ankle injury that kept him out of the Sunderland match, while team-mate Jesus Navas could also miss out once again with a similar injury. Côte d'Ivoire midfielder Yaya Toure will be absent with a groin injury he suffered against Liverpool and Serbia centre-back Matija Nastasic is out with a knee injury.