Michael Carrick believes the Premier League title race will not be over irrespective of the outcome of Monday night's Manchester derby.
Reigning champions Manchester United can open up a six-point gap over City with two games to play, if they win at the Etihad Stadium.
However, victory for City would lift Roberto Mancini's side back to the top of the table on goal difference and restore the club's status as favourites for the title.
Carrick has acknowledged the importance of the meeting between the two local rivals, but he does not believe the result will dictate who ends up as champions.
"Whatever happens, the title race won't be over at the final whistle," the midfielder told the club's official website.
"Obviously we're the two main contenders and this is going to be a big three points, but there will still be two games left to play and the way the last couple of weeks have gone, I don't think you can look at the derby as a decider.
"Who knows what might still happen? We can only look at this game as an opportunity to win three points.
"Don't get me wrong, it would be a massive step towards the title if we win, but it won't hand us the trophy."
Carrick is aiming to win his fifth championship in six seasons as a United player, but as he observes, none of them have been achieved with any degree of comfort.
"We are still in a good position," he said. "We're three points in front with three games to go. I think some people have forgotten that.
"Every time we've won the league since I've been here it's gone right down to the last couple of games.
"We've never won it with loads of games to spare. It just doesn't happen. Throughout the season you drop points and you can drop points at any time.
"We went on an incredible run after Christmas and put ourselves into a good position but we still have a job to do."