Monday night’s defeat at Crystal Palace left the champions nine points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea having played a game more, and they are now chasing Arsenal and this weekend’s opponents Manchester United in the race for automatic Champions League spots.
Clichy admits the gap to Chelsea is too big to contemplate closing at this stage, and as the title slips away there has been almost daily speculation about the future of manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Sky sources say his job is not in immediate danger and that City are not looking at potential replacements at this stage and, according to Clichy, the first aim for Pellegrini and his players is to rediscover some winning form against their local rivals.
“(The criticism) is deserved,” he said. “We knew it was going to be a difficult game on Monday as Palace are playing well since they changed the manager, but we also know a club like ours, with the objectives we have, have to win games like this.
“We’re not hiding behind anything. We’ve heard some decisions went against us, but we don’t want to hide behind this – the results are not there and we need to be better.
“The timing is perfect, because on Sunday we’re playing against United, we’ve lost our second positiion, and we have a lot to make up to the fans.
“On Sunday night the city will be all blue or all red, and hopefully we can make it a great day for the fans.”
City have recent form for winning the title from an unlikely position: in 2012 they overturned an eight-point deficit on United inside the final six games, but they cross Manchester this weekend on the back of four straight defeats away from the Etihad.
Clichy said: “We know we have seven games to go – it’s very little, but it’s enough to make things happen. We’ve been there before.
“I’m not talking about winning the title because we are very far from achieving this at the moment, but if we finish strong and if we can stop losing points, who knows what can happen?
“Chelsea have to play big teams, United and Arsenal also, so we want to take it game-after-game and make sure we play the way we want to play, because when we play like this we can win against anyone.”
Watch the Manchester derby live on this weekend’s Super Sunday. Coverage begins at 3.30pm.