Manchester City midfielder Javi Garcia has said he believes the Premier League champions can retain their title despite being 12 points adrift of Manchester United.
Roberto Mancini's men overturned an eight-point deficit to beat their city rivals to the crown on the final day of last season, and the Spain international says there is no reason why history should not repeat itself.
With ten games of the season remaining, City face a huge task to catch Sir Alex Ferguson's men - but speaking after they had kept their hopes alive with a 1-0 win at Aston Villa on Monday, former Benfica player Garcia said: "Being 12 points in front is a good position for Manchester United to be in.
"But there are still 10 games left, there are still 30 points to play for, it is still possible [to win the title].
"We need to fight until the final game. We will fight for this Premier League title. The players remember the gap that City made up last season.
"I think, if it was the same situation, in another league it would be impossible to make up the gap. But in England, everything is possible because all the teams are stronger. United can lose a few games. It is possible."
He said that if City could keep winning before the season's second Manchester derby at Old Trafford, the pressure would remain on Ferguson's team.
He said: "A win there [at Old Trafford] would cut the gap by three points. But first we have difficult games to play against teams like Everton and Tottenham.
"It is important we win at United, but if we don't win against Everton, for example, maybe the gap will be too big."
He said the victory at Villa, secured by a goal from Carlos Tevez in first-half stoppage time, had shown that City had not given up the fight, adding: "It was hard and Villa, although down the bottom, are a good, young team and they played very well.
"But we defended very well, and on the counter-attack we were very strong.