MANCHESTER -- Manuel Pellegrini refused to accept Manchester City's title hopes ended with their 2-2 draw against Sunderland and vowed to fight to the end.
But the City manager accepted his side, who have only taken one point from their last two games and are six behind leaders Liverpool, have a much slimmer chance after failing to beat the relegation-threatened Black Cats.
And Pellegrini took heart from City's title-winning campaign in 2012, when they were six points behind Manchester United with half a dozen games to go and ended up topping the league.
"The chances are less than before the match," the Chilean said in his news conference. "It was very important for us to win the three points. For different reasons we couldn't but we continue fighting to the end.
"We must try to win the games and we will see at the end of the season which team has more points. Maybe in this moment Liverpool and Chelsea have better chances than our team because we are in third position but we continue having chances.
"Remember this team two years ago were six points behind the leaders and they won the title at the end. So it is difficult but it is not the last game we play."
Pellegrini accepted his side were not at their best against Sunderland and said they struggled to banish the memories of Sunday’s 3-2 defeat to Liverpool.
He explained: "We couldn't take out of our minds the game against Liverpool and that was why the team didn't play well. We needed more intensity but our mind maybe was not in the moment to do it."
Pellegrini, who felt his players suffered more from mental fatigue than physical tiredness, said he had to substitute top scorer Sergio Aguero, who made his first start since recovering from a hamstring injury.
He added: "It was not a tactical reason but to protect Sergio. Sergio was not able to play more than 60 minutes because he is not fit to do it. He does not have any problems with his injury but he had nearly two months without playing a game so I think the most amount of minutes he could play was 60."