Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini does not believe his team have lost the initiative in the title race despite trailing neighbours Manchester United by four points.
City had led the Premier League since October but were overhauled nine days ago.
Yet, with a game in hand at home to Chelsea tonight – when Carlos Tevez could make his much-publicised return – and a derby with United on April 30, Mancini has not lost any confidence.
The Italian said: “We will win the title, we will win. We will do everything to win the title. We need to think positive, always.
“Until now we have had a fantastic Premier League; we need to continue like this.
“It is better to stay on the top – always – but I said a month ago it could be that we will go into the second position. This can happen.
“We had difficult fixtures, different from United, but it has not changed. We have everything in our hands.
“There is one game difference – potentially we are one point behind. Maybe if we win the next two games we go two points up. We need to go our way, we can’t think about United.”
City lost top spot as they were beaten at Swansea 10 days ago, a result which was followed by elimination from the Europa League at the hands of Sporting Lisbon.
Mancini does not think his team are cracking under pressure.
He said: “No, I don’t think this. We know United are used to staying there, always, but this is the only difference between us and United in this moment.”
Tevez is set to be named on the bench for Chelsea’s visit. The 28-year-old has not played for six months, but has been back in training for five weeks following the closure of his dispute with the club.
Former Sheffield United midfielder Jacob Mellis has left Chelsea “by mutual consent” after he admitted setting off a smoke grenade at their training ground.
The Blues confirmed yesterday they and 21-year-old Mellis, who has played for the first team, had “parted company” following a “full and thorough” investigation into the incident which took place on March 2.
Team-mate Billy Clifford escaped with a fine after admitting he brought the grenade – understood to be from a paintball expedition – into Chelsea’s Cobham training headquarters.
Mellis joined the Blues from the Blades five years ago and made his debut in the Champions League win against Zilina in November 2010.