Manuel Pellegrini credited Leicester’s performance after the Foxes moved further clear at the top of the Premier League table with a convincing 3-1 win at the Etihad.
City blew the chance to draw level with the league leaders after being outclassed by Claudio Ranieri’s side, who moved six points clear of their hosts and five ahead of Tottenham after Spurs beat Watford later in the day.
Pellegrini, whose side managed only a late consolation through Sergio Aguero, was impressed by Leicester but claimed the title race was far from over.
He said: “If they continue the way they are playing they are favourites. They are doing well and have an advantage in points. We played against a very good team and it is fair to give them merit.
“But it just depends on what they can do from now until the end of the season. Having to play 13 games more is very difficult to predict.
“It was our chance at home to recover the lead in the table. We couldn’t do it and now we are six points behind Leicester, but we have another 39 points to play for so it is important to be focused game by game and try to beat Tottenham here, as they are another team fighting for the title.
“We’ll see what happens between Arsenal and Leicester. There are too many things that can happen with 39 points more to play for – but this was a defeat we didn’t expect.”
The game was City’s first at home since it was announced Pellegrini would be replaced in the summer by Pep Guardiola. The club hoped making the news public – as it had seemed an open secret – would galvanise the team for the rest of the season but it did not immediately have that effect.
But Pellegrini said: “I think I talked too much about last week. I don’t think it is fair to try to have excuses for other things.”
Pellegrini added that David Silva left the field in the 77th minute after aggravating an ankle injury and he could now be doubtful for next week’s key clash against Tottenham.
He said: “David was playing the last game with pain in his ankle, today was worse because he had a twist in his ankle. We will see, but I think it will be difficult for him to recover soon.”
Asked if he could recover to face Spurs, Pellegrini said: “I don’t think so, but we must wait for the week.”