Mancini stays positive about title chance
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini concedes his side's title hopes could be over by Sunday night.
The long-time Premier League leaders have fallen five points behind rivals Manchester United with just seven games remaining following a series of costly results in March.
City could even be trailing by eight points by the time they kick off in their next match at Arsenal on Sunday if United beat Queens Park Rangers earlier in the day.
Should that happen, and City then lose to the Gunners, Mancini would accept the race was over. "If we lose against Arsenal and they beat QPR - yes," said Mancini, when asked if that would be the case.
But the Italian insists he is not thinking that way as he prepares for the crucial trip to the Emirates Stadium.
City, who led the table by two points at the start of last month, have come unstuck in recent weeks after a defeat at Swansea City and draws against Stoke City and Sunderland.
Mancini said: "I think always positive, I can't think this. Against Sunderland we didn't play very well, for me we were so flat in the first half.
"But we shot 25 times on goal, we had 65 per cent ball possession. Sunderland shot three times at goal and scored three goals. We did some mistakes defensively but we were unlucky.
"But now we can say nothing, we can't think about Sunderland. We should think positive for the next seven games. I think it may be more difficult but it is my opinion that this championship is not finished."
Mancini hopes supporters will keep faith and take encouragement from the difficulties United have had in securing victories in recent games against Fulham and Blackburn Rovers.
He expects his own team to beat United when they meet in their much-hyped derby at the Etihad Stadium on 30 April and believes they can still drop points elsewhere.
He said: "Maybe, in this moment, there is someone that maybe doesn't believe because it is difficult, but we believe always. Also we should play a derby. The derby could be three points, and I think in six games they can lose other points."