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Liverpool, United Kingdom – Manchester City never really stood a chance of catching Manchester United in the title race even before they were beaten at Everton, according to first-team coach David Platt.
City failed to maintain the pressure on their Manchester rivals, with Saturday's 2-0 loss at Goodison Park leaving them 15 points adrift in the title race.
Manager Roberto Mancini was so angry afterwards that he did not go through with his usual media duties.
City initially fell behind in their attempts to retain their title with a 3-2 loss to United at the Etihad Stadium in December.
A 3-1 defeat at Southampton allowed United to extend the gap to 12 points and although Mancini has always insisted that City will not give up on the pursuit, the loss at Everton leaves them with little hope.
“Nobody's been shouting from the rooftops saying we are chasing Manchester United down,” said Platt.
“They've got a significant points advantage over us, even if we'd won (at Everton). We have an obligation to try and win football matches and be professional.”
Mancini at least has an FA Cup semi-final against either United or Chelsea to look forward to next month, but there appears to be little else to play for in the Premier League.
The Italian is hoping that captain Vincent Kompany and Argentina striker Sergio Aguero return from respective calf and knee problems after the international break.
City were well beaten by Everton, who took the lead through a fine, swerving strike from Leon Osman mid-way through the first period at Goodison Park.
Even though South African midfielder Steven Pienaar was sent off for a second bookable offence with half an hour remaining, Everton scored a second when Nikica Jelavic finished off an injury-time counter-attack to score his first league goal since December.
Everton face a daunting end to the season, with trips to Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea in four of their five remaining away games.
However, manager David Moyes, whose side were beaten 3-0 in their FA Cup quarter-final with Wigan Athletic last week, insists his team's challenge for a European place is still on.
“We've got a tough run-in and we've got to play a lot of the top teams and will really have to take them one at a time, but hopefully people will realise we've not gone away,” he said.
“We're still there and last week people thought we'd gone away.”
Moyes, who celebrated 11 years in charge of the club last week, was furious with Everton's display in their loss to Wigan but was far from shocked with the way his players bounced back against City.
He added: “I would have been disappointed and surprised if we hadn't got the reaction.
“The players were great, playing the champions of England at this present time, and we gave them a right good run for their money.
“We've been good all season and I keep being asked about last week. We were rubbish last week but we've been very good all season and this is the best Everton team I've had in 11 years.
“Their football is excellent, we've got international players in every position, we've created as many chances as anyone else in the Premier League. There's an awful lot of good things at Everton.
“I understand the focus on last week's result because we've given this club a bit of hope and we've always had spirit, but we let everyone down last week.”
Everton will be without Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini for the games against Stoke City and Tottenham as he picked up a two-game suspension for his yellow card against City. – Sapa-AFP