While most at the Etihad Stadium are focused on catching up with Premier League leaders Chelsea, Samir Nasri has insisted Manchester City must also keep a watchful eye on those below them in the table, reports the Manchester Evening News.
City surprisingly dropped points at home to troubled Hull City on the weekend, casting them further adrift of Chelsea, but also allowing third place Southampton to reduce the deficit between third and second.
Ronald Koeman's side grabbed a late winner against QPR on Saturday to ensure they're now closer to City than Manuel Pellegrini's side are to Chelsea.
Milner the saviour
Things could have been even worse for Pellegrini had it not been for James Milner salvaging a point against Hull with a last minute equaliser to end a 36-game goalless spell in the league.
In the circumstances, 1-0 down with just minutes on the clock, City will consider it a point gained rather than two lost, but Chelsea and Southampton taking maximum points meant it was ultimately a bad weekend for the Premier League champions.
They now travel to Stoke in midweek knowing that they need to end a four-game winless run in the league if they're to hold hope of catching Jose Mourinho's league leaders.
City are being caught
The Saints win at QPR meant they're now just four points behind City, and Nasri is well aware of the threat posed by both them and Manchester rivals, United.
Discussing hopes of leapfrogging Chelsea and retaining their league title, the Frenchman told the Manchester Evening News: "We have to catch them as soon as possible if we want to be champions.
"But at the same time we have to look behind us. Southampton have won, United are getting close. We’ll see."
Title race will be tougher than last year's
Last season City found themselves behind Liverpool at the top of the table for long periods, but managed to overtake the Merseyside team to take a second Premier League crown.
However, Nasri admitted repeating that will be much harder now Chelsea sit at the top of the league.
"We have to wake up and do the job now before it’s too late. Chelsea, with no disrespect, are not Liverpool - who can drop points. They are really solid," he said.
The revival must start now
With just 14 games left to play, Nasri knows his side must stop losing points soon, starting with a tough strip to Stoke on Wednesday.
He said: "It will be tough at Stoke. It’s not ideal at 7.45pm on a Wednesday during the winter but we have to win it and catch up the points we have lost.
“This is a little bit the story of our season - we are seven points behind Chelsea - and they are the points we lost against Stoke at home and against Hull.
“It’s not good enough. We are trying to improve and get better. The season is still long and we will try to be better next game.”
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