Manchester City assistant manager David Platt is adamant the blues are not feeling any added pressure as a result of being title favourites this season.
Cracks have appeared in City’s title charge recently after a blistering start to the campaign, and the Premier League leaders have won just one of their last five matches in all competitions.
Some have suggested this poor run is evidence that the pressure of leading from the front in the title race is finally beginning to tell on City, but Platt insists the only expectation weighing upon them is coming from within the club.
“Once we set ourselves an objective at the start of the season and said we believe we have the capability to win it, our expectancy and the pressure we put on ourselves is at a maximum,” the former England international told reporters.
“It’s irrelevant what else goes on. Out of those three teams [City, Manchester United and Tottenham], I would have thought there is a similar expectancy on United.
“It won’t be on Tottenham at the moment but, because of their results and where they’ve got themselves with 18 games to go, that expectancy will grow.
“The external pressure can be no greater than that which you put on yourselves.
“We’re not frightened and shying away from saying we didn’t have an objective at the start of the season to win the league.”
Platt also defended the behaviour of City boss Roberto Mancini, who has appeared increasingly agitated and frustrated by injuries, refereeing decisions and his side’s below-par performances in recent weeks.
“His mentality and desire is to win,” he added. “He has full belief we’ll win every match. He’s a perfectionist.
“People can talk about his character and his reaction, and the TV cameras might be on him.
“But he’s no different now than he was a month ago or six months ago in the FA Cup final, or when he was a player. He’s no different.
“He knows what it takes to go the distance and he’s quite relaxed at this time. Nobody’s turning round and saying we’ve won it now or if we win the next two games.
“We fully expect the teams that are up there to continue to win games. We know nobody’s going to hand it to us.”
City currently lie joint-top of the league with Manchester United on 48 points, however, Mancini’s team have a game-in-hand to be played at Wigan on Monday night.