Pep Guardiola believes the Premier League title race will be “almost over” if Manchester City drop points over the coming weeks.
After a week of domestic cup action, City return to league action away to Newcastle United on Tuesday night.
The defending champions are four points off the pace but have the chance to close that gap to one, with leaders Liverpool playing on Wednesday night.
City’s last two league games followed Liverpool victories which put pressure on Guardiola’s side to keep pace.
However, Guardiola believes that the pressure on any title challenger remains the same, whether they play before their rivals or not.
“In both situations, later or earlier, the only chance we have is if we win the games. If not, it will be almost over,” he said.
“Every game for us is a final. In the cup competitions, we are playing also a final. So what should we do? If playing after, we have to win. If playing before, we have to win.
“I think all the teams that want to win the title have to feel the pressure. We have the pressure, we feel the pressure. You have to handle it.”
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Guardiola added: “I think 15 games left, many points to play and different circumstances, with a lot of games in our legs, in our minds. We change competitions day by day.
“My advice is not to think too much about that. Focus on what you have to do. That is the only way to be consistent and to try and win every game.”