City’s chances of claiming their first ever Premier League title and their first league crown in 44 years look to be over after defeat against Arsenal on Sunday left them eight points adrift of league leaders Manchester United.
United secured their advantage with a nervy win over Blackburn last week after City had managed only a draw against Sunderland before emerging as 2-0 winners over QPR on Sunday ahead of Arsenal’s 1-0 victory over Roberto Mancini’s side.
Richards admitted that United’s over Blackburn, that was only secured with two late goals, was particularly hard to take.
Speaking before City’s loss against Arsenal, Richards told the Daily Mail: "At half-time (in United’s win against Blackburn) and at 60 minutes I thought, 'You never know',
"But United do always look like they will score. So I knew it was gonna come. But when they got it and went further clear of us, I actually wanted to cry and I haven't done that or felt like that in years.
He added: "Football is full of emotions. You get angry and happy but I have never wanted to cry before.
"This time I did as that is how much it means. I have been grafting so hard this season, we have played unbelievable football and to see United come like this is horrendous. It kills me.
"I care so much about how I play and how we do in games. If things go badly in a game, I just can't sleep."
With their challenge at the top seemingly coming to a grinding halt at the Emirates on Sunday, Mancini’s men have been roundly criticised for a run of form which has seen them pick up just five points from their last five games.
While City may have to wait another year before breaking United’s monopoly, Richards maintains that the day when Sir Alex Ferguson’s side will be toppled will come sooner rather than later.
"We have to learn from these experiences,” he said. “Someone will take the title from United eventually and it has to be us. If you look at this season you will see Man City are by far the best team to watch. But Man Utd grind it out. They have done for many years.
"I don't want to disrespect them as they have outstanding players and a great team spirit that has carried them a long way this season. But we had the best start in Premier League history and to be several points behind now is a bit gutting. If I'm honest, it just hurts.
"For seven months we have been on top of the league playing good football but now, when it really matters, we have for some reason taken the foot off the gas.
"When United don't play well they seem to get results. When we don't play well, we get beaten. That's the difference.
"Man Utd - no matter who are playing for them - just know that they have to get the job done. They are willing to do anything."