Roberto Mancini believes he needs to sign "three or four" more players to give his Manchester City squad the winning mentality they require.
Manchester United are in pole position to clinch the title once more despite having spent less than their local rivals in recent years, but Mancini feels that he can complete the project at City if he is able to sign quality players with the right mental approach.
"We lost Yaya and Kolo Toure for the African Nations Cup, had some injuries and lost Vincent Kompany, Joleon Lescott and Sergio Aguero in the last two games," he said. "Maybe next year if we lose two important players, we can have another two good players and we can change."
He added: "Up to now, we have plugged away at building a strong team, so now I think three or four more players with a strong mentality will be enough to finish it. We maybe need time - but we have already arrived as one of the best teams in Europe.
"The difference with United is in their squad, not their starting 11. Because they are used to always being at the top, they can play without problems and they don't have the pressure we have, because they have won everything. When you play against a team like United, that is the difference - not the players."
The mentality of the City players - Mario Balotelli in particular - has come under the microscope in recent times, with the on-field dissent shown in the 3-3 draw at home to Sunderland fuelling suggestions of feuds within the camp.
Sir Alex Ferguson has said he "wouldn't allow it" at his club and added: "If you don't have unity, you are not playing as a team. The demeanour of a team is important."
Mancini accepts that City have something to learn from United in that respect.
"It is true that they keep any problems behind closed doors," Mancini said. "I think we need to improve in this way, because the problems should always stay inside and you should resolve them. We have this problem with photographers at our training ground and we talked about this two years ago and didn't do anything about it.
"We need to improve this - we need to improve in different situations. We need people around the team who understand this. We need people to understand that to be at a top club like Manchester City, you should work hard. You can't give people a chance to talk about you.
"I think United are a strong team. They have a strong mentality. If we played our best eleven players against their best eleven, they would not be better, but they are better as a club in their mentality, only because they have won so much.
"They play without problems - that is the only difference between them and us. I am happy that we have improved as a team in the last year and the title race is not finished.
"With seven games until the end, nothing is finished. We are a long way ahead of Arsenal in third and for that reason, we have had a good season until now.
"Maybe we made mistakes at Swansea and at home to Sunderland last week but after winning all your home matches you can have a bad game.
"It is impossible to win all of your home games. United, in their last 12 games, have won 11 with one draw. They have done very well in the last two months, but football can change in one week."