Pep Guardiola has compared Manchester City’s title run-in to a tennis player serving to win a tournament.
City will claim their fourth Premier League crown in five seasons if they can win their final three games against Wolves, West Ham and Aston Villa.
Yet Guardiola feels the pressure of the situation means these could be the most difficult games to win.
The City boss said: “The most difficult service in tennis is the service you have to serve to be champion, and it’s quite similar to the position we are in.
“We need six or seven points to be champions and they will be the more difficult ones.
“For these away games against Wolves and West Ham we have to be at our best to do it.”
City bounced back from their agonising Champions League semi-final loss at Real Madrid last week by thrashing Newcastle 5-0 on Sunday.
Guardiola believes the adversity suffered by his side at the Bernabeu, where City had led by two goals on aggregate heading into added time only to lose in extra time, can drive his players on now.
He said: “It was so hard, so tough, what we lived in Madrid but the only chance we have to become champion is (go) again, and tell the players don’t forget what we lived in Madrid.
“Now is the moment not to forget it. Know how difficult everything is and try to do it step by step – three more points, three more points, then three more points to be champions.”
Guardiola has faced some criticism since City’s capitulation in Madrid, including from former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.
The Frenchman, working as a pundit, suggested City lack leaders and personality on the pitch because Guardiola wants to be the only leader himself.
Guardiola, speaking at a press conference ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Molineux, said: “I don’t want personality? Well, I don’t agree, Patrice. I need personalities and good players to play on the pitch.
“I have had nice, incredible players in my past as a manager at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and here. I could give a good list in terms of their personality and character. Most of them have won World Cups, European (Championships), Champions Leagues and leagues.
“Maybe Evra is right or maybe he’s doing a good quote to come back to Manchester United to work there. Maybe there’s a good chance now.
“Good, Patrice – if we were together I would show you the personality and character of my players that we have right now, absolutely.”