The City manager is hardly the first to employ the analogy and he is all too aware that, even if all eight games are won, there could still be no prize. But a worst-case scenario is emerging for Pellegrini and his players that could be even bleaker than merely ending up empty-handed.
Pellegrini is trying to remain unperturbed about what has already been a disappointing season ending up with a sting in the tail. “We are not thinking about just one team,” he said. “It is important to finish as high up the table as possible. If we can’t win the Premier League, then we must try to be second.