Pep Guardiola says his Manchester City side have proved they can deliver when there is “no option but to win” after beating Arsenal to put the Premier League title race in their hands.
Guardiola’s team beat leaders Arsenal 4-1 at Etihad Stadium, and are now two points behind with two games in hand.
City have seven matches left, starting with Sunday’s trip to Fulham before home games against West Ham and Leeds.
“We cannot lose our focus. Now it’s in our hands,” said Guardiola.
“These next three games will dictate if we can do what we want to do. The reality is we’re still behind Arsenal.
“It will not be easy for us, but it is game by game and we see what happens.
“When it’s in our hands, we have to use it.”
City remain on course for a Treble of the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup, with Guardiola saying the experience of his players knowing what it takes to win in the final stages of the season is proving crucial.
“The players know it is necessary to say it is close and we need to win to stay in contention,” added the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss.
“That mentality where you have no option but to win is the best mentality to play. The players have shown they go into every match trying to win.”
City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne scored twice in Wednesday’s win, with defender John Stones heading in the second just before half-time and striker Erling Haaland adding a late fourth.
Belgium international De Bruyne said there is still a “long” way to go, despite many people thinking they are almost certain to win a third successive title.
“We know what people will say. It’s so hard. A lot of things can happen,” he said.
“There are still seven games left – and we’re still behind them [in the table]. People say we will win the title. We won’t give in until it’s mathematical. Our schedule is hectic.”
Arteta thinks Arsenal have to win all remaining games
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says he thinks his side will have to win all five of their remaining matches to have a chance of their first title since 2004.
Arteta’s team, who finished fifth last season, were eight points clear at the start of the month.
But three successive draws – against Liverpool, West Ham and Southampton – meant they lost momentum going into the match at City, which had been billed as the title decider.
“We knew we’d need our best as a team. We were far from that,” said Arteta.
“I don’t know what will be required [to win the title]. We have to lift the players up because they’re suffering. It’s a difficult one to swallow.”
Asked if Arsenal need to win all five games to have a chance, the Gunners boss said: “I think so.”
However, the Spaniard expressed his pride at the team’s performances this season and pointed out they were performing way above expectations.
“It is a very difficult night, the way we lost, but we have to stand up and look at the bigger picture,” said Arteta, who worked as Guardiola’s assistant at City from 2016 to 2019.
“The fact we are competing toe to toe with this City team is incredible.
“There are five games to go and anything can happen. Over the years, I’ve seen a lot can happen in this league. We have to accept we lost to an exceptional team.”
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