Manchester City assistant manager Brian Kidd has revealed boss Roberto Mancini has not given up on winning the Premier League title despite what he has said in public.
City face Tottenham on Sunday knowing a defeat at White Hart Lane, and a win for leaders Manchester United against Aston Villa on Monday, would confirm Alex Ferguson's team as champions.
Mancini recently admitted the race was over, but Kidd claims the Italian, inspired by last season's title-winning campaign, secretly believes it is still possible to overhaul United's 13-point lead.
"Let's be honest, the boss has been here just less than four years and he has put silverware on the sideboard and no-one believes that he has really given up on the title," Kidd said.
"It was the same last season. We keep working the same, we keep working hard, he is on the pitch every day. It is all about attaining a standard.
"And like I keep saying, he is not afraid to deal with big players. He can handle big players and he is not afraid of making big decisions.
"It is not over. We're champions so it is not over. As champions you go out with pride.
"If you going to lose it you are going to lose it by getting knocked out, like a great boxer would, not on his stool."
Should City fail in their Premier League title defence, as looks increasingly likely, Kidd is well aware it is no fluke that United have wrestled it from them.
"I've been there and I keep hearing these stories that it is luck," he said.
"It is not luck. It is ingrained in them. They keep going to the end - win, draw or lose.
"The best team doesn't always win the FA cup but over a 38-game season the best team always wins the Premier League."
City will check on the fitness of Argentine forward Sergio Aguero and Spanish midfielder David Silva ahead of their clash with Tottenham as both players attempt to recover from hamstring injuries.
Wales winger Gareth Bale appears to be winning his battle to play after picking up an ankle injury against Basel two weeks ago.
"I am pretty confident (Bale will play)," said Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas.
"He's made good progress from the beginning of the week to be training with the team so I think he will definitely up for selection."
England striker Jermain Defoe is also set to be available, after a pelvic problem, but Aaron Lennon is only just returning to training.
Spurs are looking for a win to maintain their hopes of Champions League football next season -- they are currently fifth, two points behind fourth placed Arsenal with a game in hand.
Villas-Boas added: "Arsenal have probably the easiest run-in, although they play Manchester United at home.
"We lost some points recently which have put us back into a position we were in before but still everything depends on us because of this game in hand we have against Chelsea.
"But I think it is a great, great spectacle for the Premier League and hopefully we can be there in the fight."