Benjamin Mendy insists Manchester City are far from finished despite accepting the Premier League title has gone.
The champions have been unable to match the outstanding consistency of their past two title-winning seasons this term, and they dropped more points at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday.
For the second year in succession, Palace proved to be a thorn in City’s side as they snatched a 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium courtesy of a last-minute Fernandinho own goal.
City boss Pep Guardiola accepted last month his side could no longer catch runaway leaders Liverpool but there are still three other trophies to play for, including the Champions League.
Left-back Mendy said: “When you start the league you try to win, to do your best and you have to say the truth, which is that Liverpool have done very, very well and are a good, strong team – everybody can see that.
“We deal well with it. When another team is doing well you can’t be upset or angry. This is the truth, no one can complain. So in our dressing room we try to focus on us.
“All the people say Man City are finished. They can say what they want – we will just keep focusing on us, play our football, win the games, to fight until the league is finished.
“We have seen other teams who have won the title have not reached the Champions League the season after – they were in the Europa League.
“We won our first title, and then won again, and are now we are still second or third. We don’t have the answer for what has happened but every player tries to give everything for the team.”
City dominated against Palace but were again exposed at the back as Cenk Tosun, making his first start since moving from Everton on loan, headed the visitors ahead.
City looked to have turned it around as Sergio Aguero struck twice in the last eight minutes to put them ahead – taking his record tally for the club past 250 in the process – but Wilfried Zaha forced the own goal off Fernandinho.
Mendy said: “I was thinking we would win the game, and the players were ready to fight until the end of the game to keep the score.
“But in football anything can happen when you lose focus for one second. Now we are sad.”
Palace created few opportunities but they were able to trouble City and for Tosun it was an impressive full debut.
The Turkish striker almost caught Ederson out of his goal soon after opening the scoring and later forced a good save out of the Brazilian.
Manager Roy Hodgson said: “Cenk Tosun was someone we scouted two years ago. At the time Everton bought him but when we had the chance to get him on loan for this period of time, Dougie Freedman, our sporting director, was very keen for us to jump at the chance.
“I was really delighted with what I saw from him. It was a wonderful debut and I hope he will produce many more performances like that in the last 15 games of the season to keep us where we are currently in the table.”