Pep Guardiola has called on fans to paint Manchester blue and crank up the noise for a potential title decider this week.
Guardiola’s Manchester City host Premier League leaders Arsenal on Wednesday in a match which could see the Treble-chasing champions completely wrest the title initiative from the Gunners.
Arsenal have topped the table for most of the season but their advantage has been eroded in recent weeks and victory for City would take them within two points of the top with two games in hand.
Guardiola is well aware of the significance of the fixture and wants fired-up supporters to help maintain City’s charge.
The City manager said: “It’s really important, the final we have on Wednesday – and it is a final – against a team who have been the best team in England so far. They are five points ahead of us.
“Hopefully all Manchester that day will be blue and they can come to support us. We need incredible noise from the first minute to the last as I know which opponent we are going to play against.
“Even though they’ve drawn the last three games, the way they play is difficult to stop. You have to read exactly what you have to do.
“It’s a massively important game for us. If we win it’s a step to getting it completely in our hands.
“We have this opportunity and we want to take it. Hopefully the whole of the Etihad will be full three hours before.”
Guardiola, however, is not reading too much into their current form.
He said: “I would say that they went to Anfield and got a result – that’s not easy. You can drop points there as we know.
“And when you play teams fighting to survive it’s difficult for everyone. It can happen to us. The momentum can go and we can lose.
“I know how difficult it will be. They are huge competitors from the manager to the players and if they sustain that, we will have to be there.”
Guardiola made six changes for Saturday’s comfortable 3-0 FA Cup semi-final demolition of Sheffield United at Wembley.
He said: “I said on Friday I was not giving rest because the FA Cup was not important. It’s not about that. I saw them tired.
“Rodri spoke with my staff and said, ‘I cannot play, I’m devastated’. When that happens, you don’t play and I had a feeling with John Stones and other ones.
“I spoke with Gundo (Ilkay Gundogan) and he said he felt fresh, so that’s why the line-up was as it was. In these type of games if you make a lot of changes you drop too much.”