Pep Guardiola feared Manchester City’s Premier League title hopes had come to a low-key ending following a 2-1 defeat to Newcastle in January.
Despite Sergio Aguero putting them in front at St James’ Park, City fell to a 2-1 defeat to Newcastle following second-half goals from Salomon Rondon and Matt Ritchie.
The Citizens, at the time, fell six points behind leaders Liverpool and having played one more game than their rivals.
But Jurgen Klopp’s side failed to take advantage upon being held to a 1-1 draw with Leicester City, which kept City in the title race.
“Right after the game in the locker room [we thought it was over],” Guardiola told CityTV.
“We know the next day Liverpool play [against Leicester]. The fact they didn’t win meant we were still there. Still we were alive.
“The fact that we played most of our games after Liverpool, and the fact we knew we couldn’t drop points. Sometimes it’s easy to prepare the mental approach of the players.
“Everyone was convinced that the only chance we had to win to was to win every single game.
“Everybody knew it. Win, or we are out. And that sometimes helps. You know what you have to do. It helps.”
City then stormed to 14 consecutive victories to record 98 points on route to becoming the first team since Manchester United in 2009 to retain the Premier League title.
Although Liverpool kept the title battle going until the final day and ended up just a single point behind in second-place.
The Reds led the standings for large parts of the season and only lost one of their 38 matches, which came against City at the Etihad Stadium in January.
Recalling City’s crucial 2-1 win over Liverpool, Guardiola said: “It was a final for us not for them.
“If we lost it [would have been] over. We didn’t play well, especially because the opponent was tough. But we played to still be in the title race. That game showed me.
“We showed incredible spirit. There are different ways to win a title. Not just one.”
Guardiola also opened up on how only Champions League glory will establish City as an all-time great.