We've come this far... now let's get across the finishing line, says Etihad boss
Manuel Pellegrini said he won't get carried away after Manchester City beat Aston Villa but was thrilled with the quality of performance of his players in a 4-0 victory.
It took City until the 64th minute to break the deadlock at the Etihad Stadium but they ran out convincing winners as Edin Dzeko struck twice before Stevan Jovetic and Yaya Toure netted late on, the latter racking up City's 100th league goal of the season.
And Pellegrini says that he urged his men at half-time to keep their patience and not become frustrated at having to attempt to break down a defensive-minded Villa side.
"It was a very big test because it was not an easy game. We know that we had to win and I think the team played very, very well," he said. "We were very patient in the first half. They had just one chance to score.
"It is not easy to play against a team with 10 defenders but I spoke to the players and told them to continue the way they were going because I thought we were doing very well in the game.
"I was absolutely sure that we were going to score and now we have to win our last game to win the title."
Man City's goal difference means that a draw will be enough against West Ham United on Sunday as they are two points clear of nearest rivals Liverpool, and Pellegrini is thrilled to have climbed into pole position at the right time after spending most of the campaign a couple of places down with games in hand.
He said: "The most important thing is that we continue depending on ourselves going into the last game.
"We have only been at the top once I think this season. There have been times when we have had games in hand but it is not the same thing and now that was our last game that was postponed."
City needed two late goals against Queens Park Rangers to clinch the title in 2012 but Pellegrini is hopeful that his side will not endure quite such an anxious afternoon against West Ham before becoming champions.
He is aware that no opponent can be taken for granted but says it is a very different situation.
"I didn't see the game. It was another team playing another way so I don't think about that," he explained. "QPR against Manchester City or Crystal Palace against Liverpool, with so many years in football you know that every game counts and every team can win any game.
"I think that now it is another team and another way of managing the team."
Defender Pablo Zabaleta described the victory as a "massive step forward" in their hunt for the Premier League title – but warned that nothing has been decided yet.
"I think it's a massive step forward but we know that there's still one game to play and we had the experience two years ago against QPR," he said.
"We know West Ham are safe but they have good players, they play really well so it's going to be very very tough, like tonight, so we can't relax."
He added: "It was a very difficult game tonight. It was a very solid performance, nothing is done yet, we know that there's still one game to play but it was very important for us to win tonight.
"We have a great chance so hopefully on Sunday we can celebrate the title."