Hart focused on top four finish

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart admits it will be difficult for the Citizens to finish top of the Premier League table this season.

City have struggled for consistency throughout the campaign and have failed to register back-to-back league victories since October last year.

The England international revealed their initial aim was to challenge for the title but, with that now seemingly out of reach, they are focusing on securing a spot in the top four and a place in next season's Champions League.

"It's possible we could finish outside the top four. It isn't how we see our season ending – we still want to believe that first place should be our goal – but anything can happen," Hart said. "Our attitude has to be aim for the top, otherwise what is there to turn up for?"

The city of Manchester will be divided on Sunday when the Citizens welcome arch rivals Manchester United at Etihad Stadium and Hart believes this match is a make or break encounter for both sides.

"Globally it doesn't carry the same swing as the semi-final in 2011 or the league game in 2012 but, for me personally, it's the most important derby ever because it's the next one," he added. "It's a game that will shape us until the end of the season.

"The first one I played in was the anniversary of the Munich disaster which was an amazing occasion – Manchester really coming together, showing to be really close, very respectful and then topping it off with a great game of football.

"It was a great win for us but it was a great day, it was something really special to be part of. Every victory against United sticks out and every loss hurts.

"There are three points available. It's just as important as Norwich was and just as important as Bournemouth is going to be. This is the game to focus on, there are the three points up for grabs and we keep wanting to move up."