MANCHESTER CITY boss Roberto Mancini admits his side may have to win their remaining 10 matches to have a chance of retaining their 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".
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 Irish central defender Ciarán 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 Ciarán has been great for me. He will put his hand up but he will come back strongly from it. The lad has been excellent all season."