Roberto Mancini has admitted Manchester City's title hopes could be over by Sunday, if Premier League leaders Manchester United win their next two games.
City's 100% home record came to end with a 3-3 draw against Sunderland at the weekend, leaving Mancini's side two points behind United, who play Blackburn and QPR before City return to action against Arsenal next Sunday.
And according to Mancini, two wins would give United an unassailable lead. "If we go eight points behind, then it is finished," he told The Guardian.
However, the Italian is certain that United will not win at Ewood Park on Monday night and has urged his team to be ready to take advantage of any slip up from their title rivals.
"United will draw," Mancini said of United's match with Blackburn. "Do you want to bet with me? Even if they win, there are another seven games.
"I believe always that we will win the title and it is important that our players have concentration about this championship."
If both Manchester sides win all their upcoming matches then United could win the title with a derby victory at Eastlands on April 30.
That is something that Mancini is eager to avoid. "Before the derby it is important we recover two points," the City boss said.