Bernardo Silva scored to give Manchester City an early lead at Leicester City on Wednesday, but that was the last bit of joy for the reigning champions, who are looking less and less likely to repeat.
[ RECAP: Leicester 1-2 Man City ]
City lost its second-straight game, this time 2-1, and the champs are admitting their problems after slipping third on the table.
“Seven points to Liverpool is starting to be a lot, we are not playing as well as we want at this part of the season,” Bernardo said. “We have to find an explanation. We need to start winning games but we can’t rely on ourselves. Even if we beat Liverpool now it won’t be easy.
“We have lost two games that we shouldn’t do if we are in a race for the title. There are a lot of games left and it’s mathematically possible but we have to be almost perfect from now.”
Manager Pep Guardiola, as expected, was a little more measured.
He’s taken the longview, which is entirely fair.
“Liverpool and Tottenham deserve it, they win games and we don’t, the gap is increased,” Guardiola said. “Last season we had a big gap, this season Liverpool and Tottenham are very good. We have finished the first half of the season, we have enough points to be champions but the other teams make more, they are better than us at the moment.”
That is a good frame for it. Man City lead the field by 11 points after 19 weeks last season. They are seven back of the Reds and one behind Spurs.