Gael Clichy believes City must repeat the level of performance shown against Chelsea in each of the games that remain this season.
The France international says anything less is not acceptable and there can be no more off-days in the final months of the campaign.
The Blues face a tricky test against an unpredictable Aston Villa side who have shown they are capable of upsetting the formbook one or two occasions this season.
“Of course we are going to have to be careful because Aston Villa are desperate for points and if we don’t work hard, we know what could happen,” said Clichy.
“Villa are not a bad side and I think that they eventually will become a very good side, but we have to go there, be very professional and repeat our performance against Chelsea – if we do that, we’ll have a great chance of taking the three points.
“We need to start well and hit the ground running on Monday evening.”
United’s win over Norwich on Saturday offered the Blues no new added incentive ahead of the Villa game and once again had the Press and pundits claiming the title race is over – but Clichy insists it isn’t and won’t be until the maths no longer add up.
“People will continue to ask because it’s the reality of where we are in the title race,” he said.
We still feel we can do it, despite United’s lead, and the only way we can do it is by winning our games
“We’ve done it before and we will continue to look back to last season as an inspiration. Yes, they are 15 points ahead, but we have our game on Monday and they can drop points in the coming weeks so why not?
“We have to give our answers out on the pitch and if we are this far behind because of what has happened so far this season then we have another 11 games to go out and put things right.
“We just need to win, keep going and see what happens. People will keep asking us whether it is over or not but we are just focusing on each game and finishing the season as strongly as possible.
“We are all determined and won’t be giving up on anything, I can assure you.”