Manuel Pellegrini has said he was not surprised by Chelsea's 1-0 defeat by Aston Villa last weekend that has handed the initiative to his Manchester City side in the title race.
The result left City four points behind José Mourinho's team with three matches in hand, meaning victory in all their remaining games would make them champions. Yet with City also having lost at Villa this season, 3-2, Pellegrini said: "For me it was not a surprise; we lost also against Aston Villa and at that moment everyone said it was impossible for Villa to win. But every team at home is difficult.
"It's not a coincidence that teams playing in the Champions League lose their game before – it happened with us against Wigan [Athletic, in the FA Cup] and it's happened to Chelsea so it is difficult to be in a competition with those obligations."
The Chilean believes that any of the top four could be champions. "I think it's possible that we can win the title and it's possible that Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool can do it," he said. "In the whole season we are very close – we'll see which team drops less points than the rest.
"Of course we can win all of our games but we could lose a lot of games. It depends every week on how we play. We have 11 important games [remaining] and if we win more points than the other teams we can win the title. Every [City] player understands that every game is a final.
"We have three games in hand but we must win those games. We don't have the points but we have the games. We start three important games and see after this week who has the best chance to win the title."
Pellegrini believes the four-way battle to be crowned champions illustrates the competition's quality. "It's a more competitive league," he said. "That's why at this moment the Premier League is the best in the world. You have four teams fighting but the difference between the 20 teams is not as big as other countries, especially Spain."
Stevan Jovetic is in the squad for Fulham's visit on Saturday, after a month out with a hamstring injury. His fellow striker Sergio Agüero may be able take a full part in training at the end of next week.