Kyle Walker insists the Premier League title race isn’t over for Manchester City despite their latest damaging defeat.
Pep Guardiola’s side trail leaders Liverpool by 14 points after losing 2-1 against Manchester United in Saturday’s derby at the Etihad Stadium.
In a match marred by an alleged racist gesture from a City supporter towards United players, the champions were punished for defensive miscues and a lack of cutting edge in the final third.
United continually cut City open in a series of incisive counter-attacks, with a penalty from Marcus Rashford opening the scoring before Anthony Martial doubled their lead.
City did pull one back through Nicolas Otamendi late on but they could not force an equaliser, condemning them to a fourth defeat of the season.
City defender Walker is adamant his side aren’t out of contention yet, but he acknowledged it will take a big effort to catch Liverpool.
“We knew they had quick players in quick areas – Martial, Rashford and (Daniel) James. They are very good on the counter-attack. We knew that but we didn’t handle it as well as we could have,” Walker said.
“It’s a massive gap, we know that, but we need to keep fighting until the end. It’s not over until it’s over. We will keep trying, as a team.”
After just 16 games, City, who have also drawn twice, have now dropped as many points as they did in the whole of last season.
They would have to win all their remaining 22 games to match last season’s final points tally of 98.
City midfielder Rodri, in his first season at the club, conceded United had come up with a good game-plan, but blamed the loss on poor defending and bad finishing.
“We created lots of chances but we didn’t manage to put the ball in. We played the way we wanted but it’s always difficult when you concede two goals,” he said.
“You need to find spaces but at the same time you concede more spaces to them for their counter-attacks.
“It’s very difficult to attack when they put 11 players behind the ball but we shouldn’t have conceded those two goals.”
Asked about City’s fading title hopes, Rodri added: “It’s a big gap but my mentality has always been never give up, never. We will play and we will fight until the end.”