Match-winner Fernandinho insists Manchester City’s aim for the remainder of the season must be to finish above neighbours Manchester United.
The Brazilian was on hand to clinch a 3-2 victory for City in the 89th minute against Aston Villa after Tim Sherwood’s side recovered from two goals down.
With City 10 points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea with just four games to go, Fernandinho admits defending their title is beyond their reach.
“For the players, the most important thing is to be champions, but everyone knows how difficult that is,” he said.
“Chelsea are a lot of points in front of us, but we will try to take second ahead of Arsenal and United. Just taking second is our target, whether that is in front of United or whoever.
“It would make our fans happy, I am sure they wanted us to win the title, but now if we can finish in front of Arsenal and United they may be happier at the end of the season.”
With Liverpool and Tottenham Hostpur – in fifth and sixth respectively – both drawing on the weekend, City’s Champions League qualification is all but secure.
The Blues travel to Spurs next Sunday, before hosting QPR the following weekend, and Fernandinho says the squad are hoping to finish with a flourish.
“In the Premier League it is important to try to win every game,” he said.
“We have two tough away games against very good teams, and will try to win them, and we must win our home games to keep our position.
“We want to finish in second, so the last four games are massive for us.”
City’s penultimate game is away to Swansea City, before they round the season off at home to Southampton.
And Manuel Pellegrini’s men will have to improve on their performance on Saturday evening against a rejuvenated Villa side.
Sergio Aguero gave City a fortuitous lead after Brad Guzan’s mistake, with Aleksandar Kolarov doubling their advantage after the break.
However, Tom Cleverley got one back for Villa before Carlos Sanchez made it 2-2 in the 85th minute only for Fernandinho to pop up and claim all three points.
“After we scored from a mistake they played better and took control of the game,” said Fernandinho.
“Even when we scored a second goal, they played better and scored twice.
“I don’t know why that happened, but you need to keep fighting until the end, which is what we did, and fortunately we ended up scoring at the end.
“If we want to win our last four games, we need to keep going in the same way, playing for 90 minutes.”
Main image courtesy of MCFC via YouTube, with thanks.