Ilkay Gundogan admits Manchester City must address their weaknesses quickly – or risk falling further behind Liverpool.
The Premier League champions trail the leaders by eight points after slipping to a 2-0 defeat to Wolves – their second loss of the season – at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Adama Traore struck twice in the last 10 minutes to punish City for a sluggish and error-riddled performance.
“It shows that we still have weak points which we have to fix as soon as possible,” German midfielder Gundogan said.
“It’s not that easy to take these things and see your biggest rival win all the time, with things that you can’t control.
“But watching their games and situation doesn’t really help us to be honest – we need to fix our situation and drop as few points as possible.
“We have definitely dropped too many points in the early part of the season. If that’s the case in the next few weeks, the gap will be even bigger, so we have to win as much as possible.”
City now have a fortnight before their next game, a trip to Crystal Palace on October 19.
They then face further Premier League games against Aston Villa and Southampton before a crunch clash with Liverpool at Anfield on November 10.
City have not won at the home of the Reds since 2003 but their victory over Jurgen Klopp’s men at home last season ultimately proved crucial in the final reckoning.
That was Liverpool’s only defeat in a title race they lost by just one point, and came at a critical stage of the season as City cut their lead at the top to four points.
Gundogan said: “We had the same, or a similar situation, last year but at a much later stage. It’s quite early in the season and there are still a lot of points to play for, but if we want to speak about the Premier League title, we have to hope Liverpool will drop points.
“That’s a fact we can’t be happy with and we aren’t obviously, but there is nothing else to do but make it better in the next game, which is our target.”
City’s latest loss also owed much to a disciplined performance by Wolves, who were unlucky not to lead at half-time. After spurning a number of clear-cut chances in the opening period, they made it count late on as Raul Jimenez set up Traore for goals in the 80th minute and injury time.
The visitors did not look like a side that had only won once previously in the league and nor did they look tired after their Europa League trip to Turkey.
Mexico forward Jimenez said: “We had a great performance. We did the things that last season made us be top of the league. We have to continue like this for the next match.
“We didn’t have too much time to plan the game because last Thursday we were playing in Turkey and we had two days for rest.
“So it was just (doing) the things that we know, the things that we are good at doing and we made it.”