Manchester City manager Mark Hughes believes the Premier League title is now Manchester United's to lose after seeing his side hold the Red Devils' closest rivals Liverpool to a 1-1 draw on Sunday.
After the draw at Anfield, Liverpool are seven points behind United with 12 games left. And that lead is effectively eight points, such is the champions' vastly superior goal difference.
Liverpool have been stuck on 17 title wins for 19 years, while United have slowly closed the gap, with Hughes saying: "Manchester United will have to slip up now, and they do not do that very often. There are still a lot of games to go, but it is very much in their hands and they will have to lose three games now. You cannot see them doing that."
Hughes' side did his former employers a massive favour after Craig Bellamy's deflected shot put City ahead, only a late Dirk Kuyt strike preserving Liverpool's 14-month unbeaten home league record.
"That was an excellent performance and we were good value for the point and probably deserved more," Hughes added.
"We were playing a side going for the title, and after we had been involved in a tiring UEFA Cup game in Denmark on Thursday.
"But we put in an excellent performance, we were strong and resilient and we deserved the result."
Hughes also praised Bellamy, whose shot from the edge of the box secured the lead in the second period.
He said: "It is always the case a club's ex-players want to do well against them.
"Craig is a proud man and maybe he feels he did not get a fair crack of the whip when he was at Liverpool. He has played extremely well since he joined us."
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