Manuel Pellegrini believes Manchester City's trips to Manchester United and Arsenal could decide season

City can go top if they win their games in hand but Pellegrini feels the next week will be hugely important in deciding the destination of the Premier League title

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes the coming week will have a huge bearing on the title race.

Pellegrini still refuses to proclaim his side as favourites for the Barclays Premier League crown despite a strengthening of their position last weekend.

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City's win at Hull, while leaders Chelsea slipped up at Aston Villa, lifted them within six points of the top with three games in hand on the Londoners.

City, in fourth, have also played two fewer games than second and third-placed Liverpool and Arsenal, whom they trail by two points.

The contest is tight but Pellegrini believes its outcome could become clearer next week, after his side's home clash with Fulham is followed by trips to arch-rivals Manchester United and Arsenal.

In addition, Chelsea face Arsenal this weekend and both the Gunners and Liverpool are also in action in midweek.

Pellegrini said: "Every player understands that every game is a final.

"We have three games in hand but we have to win them. We don't have the points, we have the games.

"We will start this week with three important games. We'll see at the end of this week who has the best chance to win the title.

"I think it's possible that we can win the title, but Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool can also do it.

"I don't think one game is more important than the other, we have 11 important ones. If we win more than the other teams we can win the title."

Pellegrini points to Chelsea's surprise loss at Villa Park as proof that potential problems can lurk at any juncture in such a competitive league.

The Chilean said: "For me it was not a surprise.

"We lost against Villa and at that moment everyone had said it was impossible for Villa to win.

"Every team playing at home can be difficult to beat. I also think it's not a coincidence that teams who have to play in midweek in the Champions League lose their game before - it happened with us against Wigan, with (Manchester) United, with Chelsea.

"It's very difficult to play in other competitions. That's why maybe bad things happen."

Yet while that might seem to suggest Chelsea's continuing involvement in the Champions League - they face Paris St Germain in the quarter-finals - could aid their title rivals, Pellegrini is not counting on that.

The 60-year-old said: "No, I don't think it will help us.

"If you add all the games played during the season we will have played more than Chelsea.

"We played before in another competition and Chelsea didn't. If we want to win the title, we will just depend on what we can do in the future."

PA

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