League leaders hold a 13 point lead with six games remaining but have suffered three successive defeats on all competitions
Manchester City could blow Premier League title - 'of course it can happen', warns Guardiola
Pep Guardiola has refused to rule out the possibility that Manchester City could blow their 13 point Premier League lead despite only six matches of the season remaining.
Guardiola is concerned about the psychological effect that three defeats in a week might have on his players as they look to secure the trophy.
City will take the title with a win over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on Saturday and a defeat for second placed Manchester United against bottom club West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
However, Guardiola's side are seeking to recover from a dispiriting run of results, having gone out of the Uefa Champions League after losing home and away against Liverpool in the quarter-finals, as well as missing the opportunity to clinch the title against United last weekend.
City were leading 2-0 in the Manchester derby before Paul Pogba inspired a United comeback, scoring twice in the second half of their 3-2 win.
Guardiola cited two examples of high-profile sporting collapses when examining his own team's prospects - Real Madrid's miserable finish to the 2003/04 Primera Liga season, and Golden State Warriors' failure to win basketball's NBA Finals in 2016.
The Warriors lost 4-3 to the Cleveland Cavaliers despite leading 3-1 with three matches to play, while Madrid managed to finish fourth in the Primera Liga 14 years ago, having held an eight-point lead at the top with 12 matches to play.
"Of course it can happen, I assure you. Real Madrid, years ago, lost five games in a row and didn't win the league. So of course it can happen, no doubts about that," Guardiola said.
"The players know that. It's not necessary to say that to them. Of course it can happen -- in football, in sports.
"Two years ago, never before, in the NBA finals one team recovered from 3-1 down. Cavaliers won against Golden State Warriors 4-3. They won three games in a row."
City dropped just two points in their first 22 league matches this season, with that unbeaten sequence finally ended by a 4-3 defeat at Liverpool on January 14.
Despite the disappointment of losing to United, City have still only dropped 12 points all season, but Guardiola is remaining cautious.
"The pundits in November, they said it was already done -- it was impossible that City, if they hadn't lost in six months, it's impossible for them to drop points," he said. "But in one week we lost three games. That happened.
"It's in our hands. We don't depend on anyone else, and that's a good advantage," Guardiola said. "So we have six games. We have to win two or win one and draw two games."