Roberto Mancini warns title race could be over by Sunday
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has warned his side's title hopes could be over by Sunday, but insisted "this championship is not finished".
"If we lose against Arsenal and they beat QPR - yes," said Mancini, looking ahead to Manchester United's game with Rangers and City's trip to the Gunners.
Such a combination of results on Sunday would leave Mancini's side trailing the league leaders by eight points.
"I think always positive, I can't think this," added City's Italian manager.
"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."
City led the Premier League title race for almost six months, but have faltered in recent weeks.
Roberto Mancini's men, who fought back from a 3-1 deficit to earn a point against Sunderland last Saturday, have won just one of their last four league matches.
A day after City stumbled, United's 2-0 win over Blackburn at Ewood Park moved the league leaders five points clear with seven games left.
Since losing to Newcastle on 4 January, United have picked up 31 out of 33 points.
Arguably United have an easier run-in than City, though Mancini maintains Sir Alex Ferguson's side will drop points during the climax to the season, which will see the two sides meet at the Etihad Stadium on 30 April.
"Maybe, in this moment, there is someone that doesn't believe because it is difficult, but we believe always," said Mancini.
"Also we should play a derby. The derby could be three points, and I think in six games they can lose other points."
Mancini argued that his City side had been unlucky in the 3-3 draw with Sunderland on Sunday.
"Against Sunderland we didn't play very well, for me we were so flat in the first half," he said.
"But we shot 25 times on goal, we had 65% ball possession. Sunderland shot three times at goal and scored three goals.
"We did some mistakes defensively, but we were unlucky."