Manuel Pellegrini has demanded an instant improvement from Manchester City to prevent their title bid going up in smoke after admitting his team looked jaded.
A 3-0 loss at Liverpool was the first time they have lost three successive Barclays Premier League matches in over seven years and left them 10 points adrift of leaders Leicester, albeit with a match in hand.
But with Manchester United now level on points, West Ham a point behind and Liverpool only six adrift, Pellegrini knows his players have to rouse themselves from their Premier League slump.
Pellegrini made just three changes from the side which toppled Liverpool in the League Cup final, including goalkeeper Joe Hart, while Liverpool made five outfield changes and looked fresh from the start.
“The most important thing is to recover our performance in the Premier League, (and show) the performance we showed in the last two games in the Champions League and the Capital One Cup, and try to win as many points as we can,” said Pellegrini.
“I am not thinking about the title and not thinking about not to qualify for the Champions League.
“It is important to think in the next game (at home to Aston Villa) we need to win because we lost the last three in the Premier League.
“From the beginning (of the match) I saw our team was not fresh.
“We had not recovered from the last week with the Champions League game with the travel from Ukraine and the game on Sunday.”