Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has conceded the Citizens cannot win the Premier League title and must now concentrate on securing a Champions League place.
Manuel Pellegrini's side were long red hot favourites for the title, especially so after Chelsea's dismal start to the season, yet they have won just four of ten league games since the turn of the new year.
As a result, City now sit fourth and 12 points adrift of league leaders Leicester City, albeit with a game in hand.
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Nine games remain for the Sky Blues, of course, but Aguero insists on being realistic in the build-up to Sunday's clash with Manchester United.
According to the Independent, he said: "We have to win, even more so because the title is slipping further away and we have to make sure we take fourth place.
"We want the title, but we have to take into account that United are right behind us and it will be a tough game."
The Argentina international continued to reveal the Manchester derby is no longer the fearsome clash it once was.
"At one point United were huge," he continued. "City have invested a lot of money to bring in quality players, and that has levelled the playing field.
"I don’t know what is happening at United, I focus on City and Sunday, we are thinking about winning and nothing else. But for me, all the games are big ones."
City are at genuine threat of losing out on a top four place given West Ham lie just two points behind them, with United four behind in sixth.
However, Pellegrini's men should be in a buoyant mood ahead of Sunday's affair given their progression into the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday, beating Dynamo Kiev 3-1 on aggregate.
They did suffer an injury blow, though, in losing captain Vincent Kompany to yet another injury.
United aside, City face a somewhat difficult run-in, with games against Arsenal, Chelsea, Southampton and Stoke City all still to come.
The pressure is well and truly on to secure a Champions League place, especially so with the success-driven Pep Guardiola due to take charge this summer.