Pep Guardiola fears that dropping points at home has cost Manchester City a shot at the Premier League title.
City were held to a 0-0 draw by Stoke City at the Etihad on Wednesday night as they missed the chance to move up to second behind Chelsea in the table.
His side closed the gap to 10 points behind the leaders, who they lost at home to earlier this season, while they have also drawn five games at home in total to give them the worst home record of all the teams in the top-five.
City do, however, have the best away record in the league and Guardiola says they must focus on improving their home form.
“Our results away are much better than at home — maybe next season will be the opposite, you never can control that,” he told a news conference. “We dropped points, but we have to analyse the way [we play] and accept it.
“I remember Southampton here, but the other matches like today we were much much better.
“Of course, in the first half we had problems to create our game because they defend aggressive, deep [and with] a lot of people.”
With just 11 games remaining, Chelsea are in a strong position to claim their second title in three years but Guardiola says they will keep trying to chase Antonio Conte’s side.
However, City’s best chance of silverware may now be in the cup competitions with games against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup on Saturday and Monaco in the Champions League next week.
“The gap it was big and it is still big, so before and now. We have to be focused game by game,” he added. “After four or five games we have to see where we are and fight for the next games.
“It is 10 points, we have one less game now, we are going to see what happens. It is game by game. When the gap is like this you cannot focus on the big target but the next game and that is Middlesbrough.”
David Silva was left out of the starting lineup against Stoke along with John Stones as Guardiola tried to rotate his squad for the busy fixture schedule.
“The rotations are good when you are successful with the result, when not, we always miss the people, but the competition is a lot of games,” the City boss said.
“In two-and-a-half days we have another one, and away because our draws mean we never play at home.
“I would like to use more players like Fabian [Delph]. The last game I didn’t play Kevin, he plays today.
“In three or four days we have to travel to France and then we play Monaco. After three or four days we have Liverpool here. It is almost impossible to play the same XI.
“When you have one game a week, you can play 11 players no problem, when you have a lot of games you have to make rotation or it will be so difficult.”
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