Adam Johnson is hoping to play against his hometown club Sunderland on Saturday and help send City back to the top of the table over the weekend.
With United not facing Blackburn until Monday evening, the Blues have the opportunity to put the pressure back on the Reds by taking three points against the Black Cats and Johnson believes the Premier League is still up for grabs.
“There’s been a lot of talk about the title race and who will come out on top, but nothing has really changed because if we can win all our games, we’ll be champions,” the England winger said.
“If we were four or five points behind Manchester United, it would be different and we’d be relying on other teams, but that’s not the case. We’re one win behind and they have still got to come to our place”
Johnson is expecting Sunderland to race out of the blocks following their midweek FA Cup defeat to Everton – a defeat that denied the Wearsiders an FA Cup semi-final date against Liverpool at Wembley.
“You’d imagine there will be a reaction from them because they were below par against Everton,” he said. “I was very surprised they went out, especially at home and having seemingly done the hard work at Goodison Park.
They’ve got a good manager in Martin O’Neill and I’m sure he’ll try and get his team rallied for this game
With City’s gut-wrenching last-minutedefeat at Sunderland on New Year’s Day still fresh in the memory and the Black Cats seeming to use all their nine lives in one game, Johnson is hoping lightning doesn’t strike twice in the return clash
“That defeat was hard to take because we played really well, dominated the match but the ball just wouldn’t go in the net for us,” he said.
“I don’t think they had any shots of note during the game and then they nick it right at the death, so that’s certainly in the back of our minds going into this game.
“I’m sure they won’t be looking forward to coming to our ground. We’ve been fantastic on our own patch and we feel we can beat anyone so we’ll be looking to make it 21 Premier League wins in a row against them”
Johnson will also be looking to add to his tally of six goals this season against a team he always enjoys playing against.
“It’s true I always seem to do well against them for some reason,” he said. “I scored at the Stadium of Light a couple of years back and managed to get one against them here last season in my first game back from injury, so I’m looking forward to it.
“It’s always nice to see my old mate Lee Cattermole, too. Our families are really close and he used to stay with my parents from time to time and I used to stay with his parents so we’ve grown up together – not that he’ll be doing me any favours on Saturday!
“We’ll be focused and ready. It should be a great game.”