Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has not conceded defeat in the title race, according to his assistant Brian Kidd.
Mancini has insisted it is "impossible" his side, who are 13 points behind Manchester United, will retain their crown.
But Kidd said that it is a public front that Mancini has put on and revealed that, behind the scenes, the Italian still retains hope he can win the Premier League and is telling his players it is feasible.
"You don't need to tell me the boss has given the title up," Kidd said. "He may come in to you lads [the press] and say that like he did last year, but he has not. It was the same last year."
Twelve months ago, United were eight points ahead of City with six games to go but the title went to the Etihad Stadium after Mancini had said in his press conferences that his side's chances were over.
And former United assistant manager Kidd, who was Sir Alex Ferguson's second-in-command during five championship campaigns, has predicted that his former club could get the jitters in the run-in.
Kidd sees similarities between Ferguson and Mancini, explaining: "In their passion and the way they work, definitely. There's only one opinion matters and that is the manager's. It sorts the men out from the boys. He [Mancini] is not afraid to make big decisions and he can handle big players."
If City lose at Tottenham on Sunday, United will be crowned champions on Monday with a win against Aston Villa at Old Trafford.
But Kidd urged City not to give up the fight, saying: "We are champions. It's not over. If you are going to lose it, lose it like a great boxer would by being knocked out, not on the stool. You go out with pride."