Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has insisted that the Premier League title race is far from over following a recent run of bad results, despite being seemingly nailed on to lift the trophy at the end of the season.
The Citizens have been talked about as champions-elect since November, and they had suffered just one league defeat up until the start of April.
But after throwing away a two-goal lead against their city rivals, a defeat which was sandwiched between consecutive losses to Liverpool in the Champions League, Guardiola claimed that Manchester United could still catch City before the end of the season.
"It can happen," Guardiola admitted, quoted by the Guardian. "Football is full of emotions but what we have to try to do is focus and win our games against Tottenham, Swansea and after that the other ones. So we know that.
"I am not the most calm, because that is not the right word, but it’s the fact that since November or December [people say] we are already champions – when I saw the pundits and the people in November, they say it’s already done.
"But in one week we lost three games. That happened. So we have to play tomorrow and after that we see the result from United," he added. "We handled the pressure - the good, the bad situations - the whole season."
Guardiola continued to refute suggestions that the league has already been wrapped up, even reflecting on when his former El Clásico rivals wasted the chance to become La Liga champions due to a bad run of form in the business end of the season.
"Of course it can happen, I assure you. Real Madrid, years ago, lost six games and didn’t win the league. So, of course, it can happen, no doubts about that."
Manchester City will travel to Wembley on Saturday in the hopes of turning their recent run of form on its head. But Tottenham, who are still fighting to confirm their place in the top four before the end of the season, will provide stiff competition for Guardiola's side.