Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has cited their title win of 2013/14 as an example of his side’s resilience – despite his side being in a much worse predicament.
Two years ago City were six points behind Chelsea at this stage of the season but still emerged as champions, which gives the Chilean hope in his last season as manager in Manchester.
The problem is that his side are now ten points behind and have only one game in hand over their rivals; they have lost their last three Premier League games.
“Remember the first season I was here? We needed to win the three games in hand and we won the three games. Everyone said we were out of it but we won the games and won the title,” said Pellegrini.
“This group of players will never give up while we have the option to do it.
“We have one game in hand but it’s more important not to think about that but just to improve our Premier League performances.
“We are not going to give up [even though] it’s a lot of points to the leaders. You never know when you are going to lose points. We must continue as far as we can and add the most amount of points we can, then we can see where we end up.
“We try to win every time we play – we just had a bad moment but we have another 33 points to play for.”
Manchester United and West Ham have taken advantage of City’s poor form in recent weeks and are now challenging for their top-four place.
Missing out on Champions League qualification is certainly not in City’s script but it is something Pellegrini, who will hand over to Pep Guardiola in the summer, is not even considering.
He said: “Don’t ask me about thinking in a negative way because I never do it. It’s not in my mind, thinking about that at this moment.
“It’s important to improve our performance to try to continue fighting first for the title of the Premier League.”
Despite their recent bad run, City will be expected to get back to winning ways as they host struggling Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
But Pellegrini says there can be no room for any complacency in the quest for victory.
He said: “It must be (victory) because we play at home against a team that is not in a good position – the worst position in the Premier League – but I think the worst mistake we can make is to think we have already won the game.
“We must concentrate and try not to make mistakes. All the teams in the relegation positions are difficult because they try to win in any way. I hope we recover our performance and win three points.”