Man City have shown signs of cracks over the past week or so, and now Pep Guardiola has conceded that there is still a fear they may surrender the Premier League title.
Aside from crashing out of the Champions League against Liverpool, City saw their title celebrations postponed last weekend as rivals Man Utd picked up a 3-2 win.
That in turn means that the league leaders still need five points from their last six games, and while many will fancy them to do that, Guardiola is seemingly either playing mind games or is genuinely concerned about the impact that recent results are having on his side.
Having looked infallible for a significant period of the season, City were tipped to even do a quadruple at one stage with the Champions League and FA Cup still targets.
They’ve fallen short in both those competitions, and so now the Premier League title will be of paramount importance to add to their League Cup triumph.
With three consecutive defeats and a difficult trip to Wembley to face Tottenham this weekend, Guardiola is seemingly erring on the side of caution.
“It can happen,” Guardiola said. “Football is emotional. We can only try to focus and win at Tottenham and then Swansea,” he is quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
“Dealing with the end of season pressure is good for our future. We have to handle that. If we are not able to in the end and United win the league then all we can says is ‘congratulations’.
“Of course it can happen, I assure you.”
Guardiola went on to cite a previous La Liga title race and the NBA finals two years ago as examples of such things happening. While the first is a fair point, the latter doesn’t make as much sense as he isn’t going to have to prepare to face direct championship rival United for the next six games.
Regardless, City are still in a strong position to complete the job, but if they do slip up at Tottenham on Saturday, it will undoubtedly add further tension and anxiousness at the club. However, United would still only able to close the gap to 10 points with a win over West Bromwich Albion.