Former Manchester City player Dietmar Hamann believes that his old side will ease to the Premier League title by “five or six” points.
The Citizens currently trail league leaders Leicester City by three points and the club confirmed on Monday that manager Manuel Pellegrini will be replaced by Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola.
While some may believe that announcing this news halfway through the season could hamper their title chances, Hamann believes it will give the City players extra motivation - comparing it to a situation that has occurred before.
“A similar scenario happened three years ago at Bayern Munich. Around about the same time of the year it was announced that Jupp Heynckes would leave the club and Pep was going to replace him in the summer,” the German said.
“Jupp Heynckes was loved by the players, he gave them freedom, he treated them like adults and they paid him back. What happened then isBayern didn’t lose a game in the second half of the season.
“They won the Bundesliga title, the German Cup and the Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley – they won the treble.
Hermann continued: “I think a similar thing can happen with Manchester City now. These players will send Pellegrini off with as many trophies as possible because they will go through a brick wall for him. He’s treated them so well over the last three years.”
Hamann played for 12 seasons in England for Newcastle, Liverpool, City and MK Dons after starting his career at Bayern.
He admitted that - at the start of the season - he believed Arsenal would win the Premier League for the first time since 2004. However, after City announced Pellegrini would be leaving, Hamann is adamant that the Chilean can comfortably lead his side to the title.
“I’ve always said this season that Arsenal is my tip to win the league, but I’ve changed my mind now, I think City will win the title and I think they could win it by five or six points,” he insisted.
“The City players will try their upmost now to make sure they give Pellegrini the perfect send-off, and I also think they’re a runner in the Champions League.
“If they hadn’t announced Pellegrini’s exit I’m not sure they would be, but after the news I think they’re very much in the running.”
Manchester City face a title crunch match on Saturday when they host table toppers Leicester at the Etihad. A win would move Pellegrini’s men above the Foxes on goal difference with just 13 matches remaining.