Michael Laudrup anticipates a real challenge from Southampton on Saturday despite the club's dismal recent form.
A run of one point from five Premier League games has left Saints bottom of the table and raised question marks over Nigel Adkins' future as manager.
Swansea, meanwhile, go to St Mary's on the back of victory at Liverpool and a home draw with Chelsea.
But City manager Laudrup said: "Southampton are dangerous because of the position they are in. It is sometimes easier to play the bigger teams as they give you more space.
"They are in the bottom three - we want to win, they need to win. But it's not how you start, it's how you finish. At the end of the season the best team are champions, the worst three teams go down."
Adkins' position has been called into question despite his achievement of securing back-to-back promotions.
And Laudrup said: "Where a team is struggling they always look at the manager. It is easier to change one person than 15 players, but over here we do seem to have more patience than in southern Europe."