Manchester City centre-back Joleon Lescott says the club’s fans must resist the temptation to celebrate Premier League glory prematurely.
Barring a miraculously large win for Manchester United at Sunderland, Roberto Mancini’s men will seal the Premier League title by virtue of goal difference with victory over QPR at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
While the former Everton defender is refusing to get carried away, Lescott revealed his side’s growing belief that they will seal the title.
“It’s a massive game at the weekend. It’s not all over yet but, if we could close the title out, it would be unreal,” Lescott told reporters.
“You dream of these things. I never once thought: ‘Yeah, I’m bound to win the Premier League’. But it was always in my mind. It will be crazy days if we win it. We’ve been nervous at times this season but we deserve to be up there.
“I’d say to our fans, keep a lid on it this week and let’s not get carried away. If it happens on Sunday, they can celebrate then.
“It’s in our hands but there’s another vital game to go. When I first arrived here (from Everton in 2009) it was more hope that we could win the league rather than real belief.
“But we’ve developed and got more players and are all starting to really believe. It’s developed over a period of time. It’s been a growing feeling.”
United had an eight-point lead at the top at the start of April, just as City’s defeat at Arsenal seemingly handed the title to the Red Devils.
However, five successive victories – including a home win over Sir Alex Ferguson’s side – coupled with the Red Devils’ uncharacteristic drop in form has put the blue half of Manchester in control.
“It would have been crazy to have given it up after Arsenal,” said Lescott. “That would have been silly. There was no chance of that happening. It would have been criminal.
“I don’t think there was any way that could happen here because of the attitudes of the players. At this level of our careers we are not going to just give up when we get close to something like this. The lads I play with have a never-say-die attitude.”
Lescott’s team-mate Yaya Toure has been key for City since his return from the Africa Cup of Nations, and his two goals against Newcastle put the title within his side’s grasp.
The Ivorian midefielder said: “Always I have said this club can go far, this club can win something. Last year we won the FA Cup and we have to continue like that and next week try to win the game against QPR.
“We know it’s going to be tough but I believe in this team, I believe in the players we have. We have some fantastic players.
“I have always said I came to this club to make history even if some people said I came for different things. I am going to keep telling them I came to this club to make history and that is my first objective, to help make the club into a successful football club.”