Manuel Pellegrini believes Manchester City can still mount a successful bid for the Premier League title despite having little remaining margin for error.
City return to Premier League action away to Liverpool on Wednesday, after overcoming the same opponents on penalties at Wembley on Sunday to lift the League Cup.
That triumph came on the back of an authoritative 3-1 Champions League round-of-16 victory at Dynamo Kiev, a result that puts City in prime position to reach the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time.
But they head to Anfield, a ground where they have failed to win on their past 12 Premier League attempts, on the back of consecutive league defeats to top-two teams Leicester City and Tottenham.
Pellegrini’s men are nine points behind Leicester with a game in hand and the manager is confident his players can still catch surprise leaders.
“If we are nine points behind the leader the range of error is less,” he told a pre-match news conference.
“If the maths say you can do it, you must always trust you can do it. I am sure our team will continue growing from now until the end of the season.”
Pellegrini won the Premier League in his first season in charge at City, where his side came from behind to take top spot in the last week of the 2013-14 campaign and held off Liverpool’s challenge.
Under Roberto Mancini in 2011-12, City memorably turned an eight-point deficit behind Manchester United with six matches to play into final-day glory and, with the nucleus of that squad still together, Pellegrini hopes those exploits will work to his advantage.
“When you have experience, it’s easier,” he added. “When you see what happens over the seasons, you must trust.
“I remember two years before I arrived, when City won the title with Mancini, weren’t we eight points behind United? Anything can happen.”