Roberto Mancini has not given up on retaining the Premier League title despite the club trailing Manchester United by 13 points, according to Brian Kidd, the Manchester City assistant manger.
United drew at West Ham United on Wednesday evening as City beat Wigan Athletic and, with the champions having a game him hand, the deficit would be reduced to 10 points if this were won.
United would claim a 20th crown as early as Monday evening by beating Aston Villa if City lose at Tottenham Hotspur the previous day. Yet Kidd stated that Mancini, despite his public concession of the title to Sir Alex Ferguson's side, still believes.
"I don't think many believe the boss has given the title up. He might come and say it's up but he's not [thinking that]," he said, before citing last season's comeback. "It's the same; he said it then but he doesn't come in here every day thinking [that] – not at all. We keep working the same, we keep working hard. I said it last year to the boss – it is not over until it is mathematically finished. We have got a group of players we can trust.
"Both teams – Manchester United and Manchester City – can go to the end of the season without losing but both teams can drop points as well. You have got to be in the slipstream if the team above you drop points.
"Stranger things have happened in football. It is poor if we thought it was all over. It could turn out a great season for Manchester City: we could win the league and the cup. It can happen. It sounds daft but it could be a great season. We're champions and champions go out with pride. If you lose it you're going to lose it by being knocked out, not on the stool – like a great boxer would."
Emmanuel Adebayor, the former City striker now at Spurs, has said that his old side can be fractious when matches are not going their way. But Kidd dismissed this. "You have only got to look at the manager and the squad – they don't like losing," he said. "With respect to Ade, if he has come out with that, Ade has not been around for the last couple of years and the boss has put silverware on the sideboard in that time. So I hope they carry on fighting and arguing. If you want a fight and a confrontation, you can have it every day in a football club."
David Silva and Sergio Agüero, who each have hamstring problems, are doubts to face Tottenham. "David has joined in with the group, a wee bit of possession and small-sided games – Sunday might be a bit too soon for him," said Kidd. "Today [on Friday] we will know more about Sergio with the hamstring. It was more fatigue than a tear or a strain."