City's hopes of claiming a first league crown in 44 years seem in tatters after a sequence of damaging results over the past month.
Defender Joleon Lescott said in the Manchester Evening News: "It's out of our hands but we've got to keep going and if United slip up then we've got to be there to capitalise. If they don't, then obviously it's going to be impossible for us to catch them now. We're professional and we owe it to the fans that we're not going to roll over and die."
Roberto Mancini's men trail rivals Manchester United by eight points at the top of the Barclays Premier League with just six games remaining - a month after they held a two-point lead.
City have collected just five points from their last five outings with Sunday's defeat at Arsenal seeming the decisive blow.
The full ramifications of that loss - for City and for controversial striker Mario Balotelli, who was sent off and left facing a lengthy ban after another incident - are still to be felt.
But for the players to feature as West Brom visit the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, there remains a strong will to at least go down fighting. Failure to win the title would be a crushing blow for City after leading the table for most of the season.
Yet even if it is not going to happen, Lescott believes City have another good reason to fight on - to at least ensure United do not leave the Etihad Stadium as champions later this month.
The sides are due to meet on April 30 and only by winning all their games until then, and then beating United, can City at least soften the blow by making their rivals wait until after the derby.
Lescott, 29, said: "We don't want to let them win it at the Etihad Stadium. We'll do everything in our power not to let that happen. It's not going to mean much if we do the double over United and lose the league but I'm sure that when that game comes around everyone will be raring to go."