Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has called on his team-mates to show their mettle in the aftermath of Sunday's 3-2 derby defeat to fierce foes Manchester United.
The reigning champions are now left six-points behind the leaders in this year's Premier League title race, after Robin van Persie ended the Citizens' 37-match unbeaten home record with a dramatic stoppage time free-kick.
An already gloomy outlook around the Etihad Stadium, following City's Champions League group stage exit last week was compounded as Roberto Mancini's men fell against Sir Alex Ferguson's side.
However, Toure insists that the latest setback has made him and the other players even more determined to turn things around in their bid to retain the domestic crown, just like last season, when they overturned a six-point gap in the final eight games of the campaign.
"This makes us more determined to win it," said the Ivorian international. "We are tough men, and when things get difficult, that is when you find the tough men.
"Last year was fantastic. But we have to forget what we have done in the past. We have to realise that sometimes you have a bad time.
"When you are at the top everybody wants to take you down. We have to be strong and work harder to turn this around.
"This year will be hard but we have a fantastic squad and we have the confidence to keep going until the final day."
City came back from 2-0 down at half-time with goals from Toure and Pablo Zabaleta in the closing stages, which made Van Persie's goal even more difficult to stomach.
"It was a dagger in the heart - unbelievable," the 29-year-old reflected. "We thought we would win it at 2-2, but United have great experience.
"We have to be strong mentally, and strong in every other way as well, because the Premier League is not finished yet."
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms