London – After losing their unbeaten Premier League record last week, Manchester City face a testing trip to Newcastle United on Saturday.
Captain Vincent Kompany is adamant his side can still retain their title, despite falling six points behind Manchester United following defeat to their local rivals last weekend.
“In my mind, there is no difference other than we now know we can do it, so if we apply ourselves correctly we can win it again,” said the Belgian. “Of course, as champions you start most games as favourites to win and teams tend to sit back a little bit more and wait for you to take the game to them – then try to catch you on the counter-attack.
“Teams may have more respect, but they are not naive with it and that makes each game a bit trickier than it was last season. It's an honour to be defending the Premier League title, so you have to take everything that comes with it.
“The message was very clear for everyone at the start of the season – we can't sit back and just expect the success of the last campaign to land in our laps again.”
Newcastle lost to Fulham on Monday, meaning they have suffered five defeats in their last six games.
“I'm worried in so much as we are not picking up enough points, that is pretty evident,” said manager Alan Pardew.
“Although the performances against Stoke, Wigan and against Fulham have improved, it is a worry we don't have enough points on the board.”
United host Sunderland who moved out of the relegation zone with a win over Reading. “We accept that we are letting too many goals in and we've had to come from behind too often, but the signs are there that this could be a very good season for us,” United midfielder Ryan Giggs told the Red Voices podcast.
Queen's Park Rangers continue their hunt for a first win of the season at home to Fulham, with owner Tony Fernandes admitting this season has “been nothing short of a disaster.”
He urged fans to: “Keep your spirits up. Laughing smiling and being positive helps. Won't leave any stone unturned to try fix this, tough as it is. Hopefully Santa gives us some early presents.”
Second bottom Reading host Arsenal on Monday with Wigan, who occupy the third relegation place, away at Norwich City who have gone 10 games unbeaten.
The two Sunday games see Tottenham Hotspur host Swansea City and West Ham United travel to West Bromwich Albion, while Liverpool host Aston Villa on Saturday and Everton go to Stoke City. – Sapa-dpa