Vincent Kompany insists Manchester City still have “everything to play for” in the Premier League title race.
Club captain Kompany challenged City to take the battle to league leaders Liverpool in Thursday’s pivotal clash at the Etihad Stadium.
Liverpool are seven points clear at the top of the table, with Pep Guardiola already admitting second-placed City’s title challenge will be over if they lose to the Reds this week.
Belgium defender Kompany is refusing to give up hope, however, and called on the club to get back to top form following Sunday’s 3-1 win at Southampton.
“We shouldn’t focus too much on points at the moment, we know if we can play to our potential we are a good team,” Kompany told City’s official club website.
“Our pride has been hurt over the last few weeks but we have everything to play for and it depends on us.
“It’s one of those key games you live for. Every living soul that comes into the stadium on Thursday has to be ready to fight and give it to them.
“And we should be able to pull everything out of the locker for that game.”
Successive defeats to Crystal Palace and Leicester have threatened to derail reigning champions City’s bid to retain their title.
Guardiola’s men got back on track with Sunday’s south-coast canter at Southampton, with strikes from David Silva and Sergio Aguero, and James Ward-Prowse’s own goal, sufficient for victory.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg robbed Oleksandr Zinchenko before lashing home a smart Southampton goal, but Guardiola later defended his Ukraine star despite that mistake.
“Oleks was the best player on the pitch, do you know why? After the mistake, he never hid,” said Guardiola.
“Mistakes are part of the game. He is young, he will learn. That’s why I said to the guys at half-time, ‘learn from Zinchenko today guys’.
“Everybody can make a mistake but what he has done after it, in the same game, where he could feel bad and guilty for the team… his reaction was outstanding.”
Sunday’s defeat left Southampton outside the relegation on goal difference alone, and Hojbjerg can expect to receive a four-match ban for his late red card for a two-footed tackle on Fernandinho.
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