LONDON • Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany believes his side cannot afford to make any more mistakes if they hope to launch a serious bid for the Premier League title this term.
Wednesday's 0-3 loss to Liverpool condemned City to their third successive league defeat and left them fourth in the table, 10 points behind leaders Leicester City with a game in hand.
But Kompany will remember another season when City conceded three goals at Anfield. Two years ago, City lost 2-3 at Merseyside to fall seven points behind leaders Liverpool, yet Manuel Pellegrini's side ended that campaign as the champions of England.
"We can't make any more mistakes but I didn't expect all the other teams to lose," said the Belgian, referring to midweek losses for title-chasing rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
"There is one guarantee from this season - that nothing is sure."
Of the top four sides, City have the best run-in on paper. The average position of their remaining opponents is 12.3, compared to 11.9 for leaders Leicester City, 10.9 for Tottenham and 11.7 for Arsenal.
A home game against bottom club Aston Villa today ought to provide City with the opportunity to begin collecting league points again, but Pellegrini has made clear that a repeat of Wednesday's performance will not be accepted.
"Of course, we cannot play in the way we did. Not only did we concede three goals but we didn't shoot once at the Liverpool goal," he said.
The worrying statistic for City is that, despite looking good in Cup competitions, they have won just one league match since Pellegrini announced on Feb 1 that he would be leaving at the end of the season to make way for Bayern Munich head coach Pep Guardiola.
The impending change has resulted in speculative stories surrounding manager and players alike.
Yesterday, the Daily Mail reported that the Chilean has been offered the Zenit St Petersburg coaching job on a two-year, €4 million (S$6.1 million)-a-season deal.
Other reports suggest that goalkeeper Joe Hart's place could be under threat as Guardiola is keen to take World Cup-winning Manuel Neuer with him to Manchester.
Villa manager Remi Garde also had to deal with rumours yesterday, denying talk of a dressing-room rift at his troubled club.
"I'm surprised this kind of stuff goes out because I strongly believe it is not the case simply because I had my captain, Micah (Richards), in my office after the last game," he told a press conference.
"We had a private chat. I don't want to say exactly what was talked about but to sum it up, it was the exact opposite of what you're saying."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
MAN CITY V ASTON VILLA
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