Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini says he could be sacked if his team fail to finish in the top four.
Pellegrini led City to the Premier League title last term but they have slipped to fourth after defeats by Crystal Palace and Manchester United.
"You are wrong if you think that, at this club, you are out if you don't win the title," the Chilean, 61, said.
"If we miss the top four then maybe it will be different because that would not be the same thing."
City were level with Chelsea at the top of the table after the New Year's Day fixtures but have lost five league matches since.
Going into Sunday's home match against West Ham (kick-off 13:30 BST) they were only four points ahead of fifth-placed Liverpool and four points behind rivals Manchester United in third.
Asked about finishing outside the coveted top four, Pellegrini said: "If that happens, the analysis of the season will be different. Not to play in the Champions League is a disaster."
Pellegrini said on Friday clubs should not see sacking the manager as a cure for their problems.
"It's very easy to sack the manager, but that's not the correct diagnostic," he said.
His position came under even greater scrutiny when highly rated Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp announced this week he would be leaving the German club at the end of the season.