MANUEL Pellegrini conceded that Manchester City’s title hopes have suffered a serious blow after they were held to a 2-2 draw at home by bottom club Sunderland.
It could have been even worse for City who needed a late equaliser by Samir Nasri to avoid defeat, but Liverpool are now six points ahead having only played a single game more while Chelsea are four points in front.
Sunderland’s survival chances remain slim but Connor Wickham’s double after Fernandinho had given City an early lead keeps their hopes alive.
Pellegrini blamed Sunday’s defeat at Liverpool for affecting the players.
He said: “Of course the chances are less than before the match. It was very important for us to win the three points, for different reasons we couldn’t but we continue fighting to the end.
“I think we couldn’t take out of the mind the game against Liverpool and that was the consequence why the team didn’t play well.
“We needed more intensity but our mind maybe was not in the moment to do it.
“Maybe at the moment Liverpool and Chelsea have better chances than our team because we are in third position but we still continue fighting until the last game.”
Pellegrini insisted however the players would keep going to the very end of the season - and pointed out they had come from six points behind to win the title in 2012.
“We have to play five games more so we continue having chances, less chances than before this game, but we continue having chances,” he added.
“Remember this team two years ago were six points behind the leaders and they won the title at the end. So it is difficult - but it is not the last game we play today.”