PREMIER LEAGUE

Manchester City's Benjamin Mendy: "We can't afford to be upset or angry"

Manchester City will keep fighting to prove they are not completely out of the Premier League title race, insists Benjamin Mendy.

Mendy tells Man City to ignore critics after latest Premier League slip-up

Benjamin Mendy says Manchester City must avoid dwelling onpast results and what their competitiors are doing after the team dropped two points against Crystal Palace on Saturday. City were held to a 2-2 draw at the Etihad after Fernandinho's 90th-minute own goal allowed the visitors back into the game.

Liverpool could open up a 16 point-lead at the top of the Premier League

Pep Guardiola's men had come from behind to take a late lead but ultimately missed a chance to reduce Liverpool's advantage at the top, which could be extended to 16 points on Sunday. Mendy admitted his team-mates felt "sad" at full-time, but the left-back backed the Premier League champions to block out criticism.

"When another team is doing well you can't be upset or angry," Mendy said, insisting City would "deal well" with the latest setback in their bid to catch the Reds. "We know when you start the season, after winning the league, you have to win most of the games. This is the truth, no-one can complain. [Liverpool] are a good team, strong team who win, win and win. So, in our dressing room, we try to focus on us. All the people say City are finished, they're finished. They can say what they want – we will just keep focusing on us, play our football, win the games, and fight until the league is finished."

City face Real Madrid at the Bernabéu on 26 February

Beginning with Tuesday's trip to Sheffield United, City have at least six domestic games (and a seventh if they progress to round five of the FA Cup) to address their deficiencies before facing Real Madrid in the first leg of a much-anticipated Champions League Last 16 tie.

Mendy said the countdown to that Santiago Bernabeu blockbuster would elevate the team's motivation levels. "That will be another kind of game – Champions League, big game," he said. "Every game is big, but everyone knows that this game will be watched by everyone so mentally you have a feeling, the atmosphere, how you come to the game puts you on fire, [gets you] excited. We will be focused on Sheffield now."