Yaya Toure admits his Manchester City side simply have to beat Chelsea on Sunday with the Londoners already five points ahead of the reigning Premier League champions.
After winning their first two games, City's season stalled when they succumbed to a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Stoke before drawing 2-2 at Arsenal.
The Champions League could have provided a nice distraction for Manuel Pellegrini's men but that wasn't to be as Jerome Boateng smashed a last-minute winner for Bayern Munich to condemn his former club to defeat.
Now City, who haven't tasted victory since the end of August, host a Chelsea side who have picked up maximum league points thanks mainly to the goals of Diego Costa.
Point to prove
Though it's still very early days in the title race and a defeat certainly wouldn't end City's chances of retaining their title, midfielder Toure, who's come in for some criticism for his early season form, sees this game as a must win.
Speaking to BBC Sport's Football Focus, Toure said: "We want to close the gap on Chelsea and need to win on Sunday.
"It is going to be really important to prove that as a team and as a club that we are growing every day.
"We need to work hard as a team and try to do the business on Sunday and bounce back from the disappointment against Bayern Munich."
Last season Jose Mourinho's men did the double over City but could only finish four points behind them in the title race, proving these head-to-head fixtures are not the be all and end all of the title race.
City will be desperate to end Chelsea's run of fine form which has seen them score 15 goals in just four games.
Seven of those have come from summer signing Diego Costa, but Toure knows he's just one of a number of talented players in the Chelsea side.
The Ivorian said: "Chelsea are a top side who a have a great shape and are in form.
"We know it is going to be very tough because Chelsea have a strong squad and good players and are hungry to win trophies."
City could be forgiven for believing last season's title success immediately made them favourites to be crowned Premier League champions again this time round, but it won't be easy for Toure and co.
"We know it is going to be tough this year. We won the Premier League last season but that is now in the past and we have to focus on improving and being more consistent," the midfielder said
He added: "It's difficult because a lot of our important players have not had enough rest and recovery after the World Cup.
"As champions we want to win it again so we have to work hard because all the other teams are going to come at us and try to beat us. We need to deliver."
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