Joe Hart says he and his Manchester City team-mates will not concede the title race despite dropping yet more points against Liverpool on Sunday.
After lifting the Premier League trophy in May, City have flattered to deceive at times this year, regularly failing to take their chances in the big games and now sit nine points behind local rivals Manchester United, with punters who bet on Premier League title races heavily favouring the Red Devils.
However, the Citizens found themselves in a similar situation this time last term, but went on a magnificent run that culminated in Sergio Aguero netting a stoppage time winner against QPR that saw them claim the title for the first time in over 40 years.
Some of their problems have been caused by a number of their key players failing to reach the highs of last season, with Hart himself coming in for plenty of criticism following a string of uncharacteristic errors.
There is still 13 games to go this season though, with plenty of football still to be played, including the second derby of the season.
Despite the deficit, Hart insists he and his colleagues will never concede the title and will give everything they can to defend their trophy.
“We have got to be. There is no point turning up otherwise,” the England international said to football betting news reporters. “We have got to win every game and look not to drop any points. It is a good challenge for us.
“We will always be in it, but unfortunately it’s a big gap, getting too big for our liking.
“You have to move forward, and that means we have to beat Southampton next week. We are nine points behind with 13 games to go, so we need the win,” he added.