Gareth Barry is keeping his feet firmly on the ground ahead of Monday’s Manchester derby.
The England midfielder has been one of City’s most consistent performers this season, but he is experienced enough to know there is still a lot of hard work ahead for the Blues.
“You've always got to hope,” said Barry. “There's always a danger of losing concentration if it's not in your own hands, but now it is.
“To call it a second chance is probably right. It's all built up to a huge game on Monday and we're all really looking forward to it.”
Barry admits there was a freedom element to the Blues’ play during the victories over West Brom and Norwich, while United’s draw with Everton once again allowed the door to open for City – something that seemed to have an effect during an edgy win over Wolves.
“There's probably been less pressure on us in the last few games,” he admitted. “I don't think you can get away from the size of the game against United and the pressure on the team.
It's not just on us; the pressure will be on them, too
"It's not really an excuse. When the game is that big the pressure is on both sets of players and it’s probably going to be down to who handles that best.
“I think initially, because the derby is the next game, it is a must-win for us. Then you have to look after the games still to come. If we get a positive result against United that certainly is not the end of it. Newcastle and QPR have got so much to play for themselves.
“People are speaking of this as maybe being the biggest game in Premier League history and on a personal level, it's a massive game for me to be playing in.”
Though United dropping points lately has surprised many people, Barry says it’s only to be expected that teams will go off the boil from time to time – as both Manchester clubs have proved.
“We can look further back in the season to when we were clear and people were maybe people were thinking it was over for United, but they came back strongly - it's just the Premier League and the way things are,” he said.
“It's such a long season and so much can happen.
It's gone right to the wire and we're thankful we still have a chance and that it's in our hands
“I've really enjoyed this season. I've had a great run of games and it's fantastic that we're still challenging for the title. It goes without saying we’ll be giving our all to try and take advantage of the situation, but as I say, we have three huge games left so we need to take one game at a time.”