Cape Town - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has urged his side to
"accept the reality" following a surprising dip in form that has seen
them lose three of their last four Premier League fixtures.
The Citizens were in imperious form at the start of the
campaign going unbeaten for 15 matches before suffering their first defeat of
the season at Chelsea on December 8.
The 2-0 defeat to Chelsea proved to be an omen of what was
to come, with Crystal Palace and Leicester City both taking maximum points from
their clash with Guardiola's side later in the month.
Table-topping Liverpool now boast a six-point lead at the
top of the table, with Tottenham leapfrogging Man City into second place on
Boxing Day after a 5-0 rout of Bournemouth.
Many pundits and fans will already have one eye on the
upcoming clash with Liverpool in the new year, but Guardiola wants his players
to remain focused on their next encounter, a trip to Southampton on Sunday.
"We have to accept the reality. It's happened, accept
the reality and try to win again for our confidence," Guardiola said.
"Now there will be doubts but we have to change the dynamic.
"I have to think about what the team needs and then try
to win again.
"In football you are able to win a lot of games and
lose a lot of games. We have to think about Southampton next and recover
He continued: "The reality is we have lost three in
four and to be real contenders we need to win again, so we focus on
"We have made an incredible amount of points at this
stage and if we can get the same, or more, in the second half of the season
then we are fighting to win the championship. But at the moment, the reality is
that two more teams are better than us."