- Premier League
We'll keep getting better, Kompany warns United
Vincent Kompany has admitted that finishing anywhere other than top of the table will be viewed as a failure by Manchester City.
One win in four league outings has seen the wheels come off City's title charge, with rivals Manchester United forging a five-point lead through a run of seven straight victories.
Having led for so much of the season, City are now in danger of seeing all their hard work undone at the critical stage of the campaign. And the pressure appears to be getting to the players, with temperamental striker Mario Balotelli clashing with team-mates during City's 3-3 draw with Sunderland on Saturday.
Although they have improved their end position in recent seasons - they finished fifth in 2010 and third last season - skipper Kompany says they will take no solace in finishing second behind United.
"It's all about winning trophies ultimately," Kompany said in the Daily Mirror. "That's the only thing we want. Not just one trophy, but everything, and that's what we have to play for every single year, and we're getting the club to that stage.
"For three or four years now we have always improved, this year we've improved again. Hopefully we can win the title. If not, which I don't count on, we'll be there, we'll keep improving next season and it should be there soon.
"With what we have shown at home for the past year or more, we can be disappointed [with the Sunderland result]. For two or three days everyone is going to be disappointed, everyone will feel as if we have lost it. But in the next three or four days we're going to start believing again, because there's no other choice."
Manager Roberto Mancini's position is under threat, amid claims he could be on his way if City miss out on the title, and the Italian's tactics have been criticised in recent weeks, with his side only claiming five points from a possible 12.
However, Kompany insists the Italian is not to blame, saying: "He's very clear in what he brings across to the players, always positive. Ultimately he gives tactical advice, because we need to know where to stand.
"We didn't do too well [against Sunderland] but we need to play in a way we can dismantle the other team and usually it works well. When you play with great players like this, you feel there will always be a moment when they can make something happen.
"But the reality is that you have to work hard for it and for long parts [against Sunderland] we didn't do enough. The disappointment is there, but I'll be the first one back at the training ground to get their heads back up because we have to believe."