Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes the Premier League title race will come down to “who handles the pressure better” between now and the end of the season.
City go into Sunday’s game against Burnley two points behind league leaders Liverpool but with a game in hand over Jurgen Klopp’s side.
“Now it’s who handles the pressure, who is more stable,” said Guardiola.
“Every game it is a little more difficult with the pressure.”
The Citizens will become the first team to retain the title since Manchester United in 2009 if they pick up maximum points from their final three matches.
After Sunday’s trip to Turf Moor, Guardiola’s team take on Leicester at home and Brighton away, while Liverpool face Newcastle away and Wolves at home in their final two fixtures.
“They are going to win their games,” said the 48-year-old, whose side kept the pressure on the Reds with victory in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford in midweek.
“If we win on Sunday, next Monday [against Leicester], and the last game in Brighton we will be champions. All we have to do is focus on what we have to do and win our games.
“We lose a game? Bad luck and next season we will be back, hopefully stronger.”
City can still reach 98 points – just two shy of last season’s record 100-point haul – if they win their last three games, while Klopp’s team could end the season as runners-up on 97 points.
“The difference between this season and last season is one reason – Liverpool,” said Guardiola.
“We did the same [as last season] but Liverpool are much, much better.
“They’ve been incredibly consistent but we don’t have to look at what they do. It’s in our hands.
“That is the little advantage that we have right now.”