Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini admits his side may have to win their remaining 10 matches to have a chance of retaining their Barclays Premier League title.
A first half goal from Carlos Tevez proved sufficient to earn City a 1-0 win at Aston Villa last night and again reduce the gap on leaders Manchester United to 12 points.
Mancini repeated his claim that City will not give up on their crown without a fight after completing a double over relegation-threatened Villa.
He said: "It is difficult because we have 30 points to play for and we need to try to win.
"At the end, we will see what happens. In football everything can happen right up to the last second.
"We probably need to win all 10 matches that are left. We need to win all the matches.
"If they (United) lose three or four or five games.....it is difficult because they are too strong for this.
"When you have to win always, it is difficult to win every game. But last year we did this. Why can't we do it this year?"
Mancini's relief at City keeping their slim title hopes alive was tempered by another injury setback to midfielder Jack Rodwell.
Rodwell suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury midway through the opening period and will be sidelined for "three to four weeks".
Mancini said: "We are very sorry for Jack, because he is a good guy, a good player, but he is unlucky. It is his hamstring.
"I think it is impossible to resolve his problem after six or seven months because he's had this problem for five or six years and we need maybe more time.
"How long will he be out? Maybe he will be back after the international break, three or four weeks. It is the same injury.
"I am very sorry because he is a young player. He needs to improve but he has played very well against Chelsea and was playing very well tonight."
Sergio Aguero was ruled out with a knee injury and will also miss the weekend FA Cup tie with Barnsley but Mancini is hopeful he will be available for the next league clash with Everton.
Villa remain in the bottom three after a mistake by central defender Ciaran Clark gifted the goal to Tevez after he was dispossessed by Edin Dzeko.
But Villa boss Paul Lambert leapt to the defence of the acting skipper.
He said: "The goal was absolutely ridiculous really. You can't make that sort of mistake. I wouldn't have minded if someone had put one in the top corner with a bit of skill.
"But Ciaran has been great for me. He will put his hand up but he will come back strongly from it.
"It is easy to be critical of Ciaran. The lad has been excellent all season. He will learn from it, he won't make the same mistake again."
Villa midfielder Fabian Delph will be suspended for the next two vital games against fellow strugglers Reading and QPR after collecting his 10th booking of the season for handball.
Lambert said: "Fabian has been playing extremely well, really well. But you are pressing forward, to try and get a goal back and things like that happen."
The Villa boss knows the significance of the next two matches in the context of their battle for survival.
He said: "The next two games are massive for us. If we play like we did against City, we will give teams a fright, that's for sure."