Roberto Mancini believes Manchester United will strike a fatal blow to Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title, if they take maximum points from their next two matches.
United face Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park on Monday evening, and then meet relegation threatened Queens Park Rangers at lunchtime on Easter Sunday.
City, meanwhile, will not face Arsenal until United have competed these two fixtures, and could find themselves eight points behind the latter by the time they begin their encounter at the Emirates Stadium.
United currently have a two-point gap above City after the latter failed to beat Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
And, following the 3-3 draw with the Black Cats, Mancini conceded that the title race could be over by the time City play their next game.
"If we go eight points behind then it is finished," the City boss said, according to skysports.com.
City had fallen 3-1 behind against Sunderland, but late strikes from Mario Balotelli and Aleksandar Kolarov ensured they rescued a point.
It was a performance that clearly left Mancini feeling disappointed, although he hopes his previous managerial experiences will help City become Premier League champions come May.
"It's clear we are disappointed. We have made some mistakes, me and the team," he added.
"We have also been unlucky, like losing three or four key players at an important moment.
"But when you are a strong team you should be able to pass these difficult moments.
"Yet football can change in two or three games.
"I had an experience in Italy with Inter Milan when we were five points behind with five games to go yet we still went on to win the title."