Manchester City star David Silva believes Roberto Mancini's psychological warfare has helped turn the title race in his side's favour.
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Mancini has publicly maintained that United have had the title wrapped up for several weeks, but City have clawed back an eight-point deficit and now lead the reigning Premier League champions on goal difference after Monday night's 1-0 Manchester derby victory.
Even after that seemingly decisive win, Mancini insisted that United remain favourites to lift the title as they have two easier games - Swansea and Sunderland - left than City, who face Champions League-chasing Newcastle and relegation-threatened QPR.
Silva recognises that Mancini's approach has been designed to take the pressure off his players, and with four wins from four since his 'concession' of the title began, the Italian's methods have proved to be an effective tool.
"It's an important moment for us psychologically [the derby victory] as we knew we had to win," Silva said. "We did that and now it gives us the confidence we need for the last two games.
"There was never a point when we totally gave up on the league but we did get to a point when we knew it was very difficult.
"Perhaps Roberto has deflected the pressure from us by saying the title is over. It's been a very, very long season, very tough. It's very important that we finish the job now."
And Silva believes that City will not look over their shoulders this time, having already conceded the advantage to United once already this season.
"We don't need to think about United," Silva said. "We've passed that mental stage now. We are ready to win the title. We don't concentrate on United. We concentrate on ourselves. We beat them there, we beat them here.
"Don't get me wrong, United are a great team, a fantastic team. They've been winning titles for a long time but, as I say, we beat them there, we beat them here."