Javi Garcia believes Manchester City’s title hopes could have been hanging by a thread had they lost at Hull on Saturday.
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Manuel Pellegrini’s team were threatened with a third consecutive defeat when captain Vincent Kompany was sent off after just 10 minutes at the KC Stadium.
Instead, midfielder Garcia filled in as a makeshift centre-back while David Silva and Edin Dzeko each scored in a 2-0 win that reduced the gap between City and leaders Chelsea to six points.
And Garcia told the Manchester Evening News: "It would not have been finished, but if we had lost it would have been so difficult for us.
"Chelsea don’t lose so many points and we have to go top of the table again. We have played three games less and if we win them we will be top."
Garcia, a 2012 signing from Benfica, endured a difficult start to the season but has been in fine form in the last few weeks and also had an excellent game in February’s 2-0 FA Cup win against Chelsea.
And he added: "Now maybe the fans are happier with me, but I just try to do my job, and I try to do the same things I did six months ago.
"I feel better now in the country, in the team and in the club. When you feel good off the pitch, you feel better on it. Maybe this season after Christmas I have done my job better."