Pep Guardiola feels Manchester City will have to win all their remaining five games to pip Liverpool and retain the Premier League title.
City briefly took top spot on Sunday afternoon following a 3-1 win at Crystal Palace, until the Reds went back to the summit by beating Chelsea.
It means City remain two points behind but, crucially, they have a game in hand, and Guardiola believes they cannot afford a single slip-up during the run-in.
“We think Liverpool are going to win all their games, but the Premier League position is in our hands,” he said.
“We have to win every game if we want to make back-to-back titles. We know that, and the players have shown they want to do it, and I didn’t have any doubts about that.”
Selhurst Park has been a graveyard for title campaigns in the recent past, notably when Liverpool’s wheels came off in 2014 and City suffered a similar fate a year later.
But Raheem Sterling’s double and a late third from Gabriel Jesus, after Luka Milivojevic gave Palace brief hope with a free-kick, kept City’s bid to retain their crown firmly on track.
“I’m so pleased,” added Guardiola. “The amount of games we have had – Brighton, and three days later the Champions League, and now here, and the way we played for 75 or 80 minutes was really good.
“In two seasons we’ve got 83 points with five games left. Incredible numbers and it shows how consistent we are.”
City host Tottenham on Wednesday looking to overturn the 1-0 first-leg deficit in their Champions League quarter-final and keep their quadruple dream alive.
Palace boss Roy Hodgson has no doubt they can pull off an unprecedented four-timer.
“I think they look in very good shape,” he said. “They came here with a fully-fit squad and they paid us the respect of putting a very strong team out. That doesn’t make the task any easier.
“I can only say what everyone else knows. They are a very good team and will take some beating in any competition they play.”
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