Newcastle boss Benitez: Liverpool good enough to win the title

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"We changed the system to get a better balance in the team and it is a fantastic result for this team".

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City went into the month of December with an unbeaten record but lost to Chelsea on the 8th and have now lost back-to-back games against Crystal Palace and Leicester City, dropping the champions down to third place in the table.

"They are better than us in that moment, you have to accept it, and it's important to accept where we are, and they are improving", Guardiola added.

The 33-year-old Brazilian had started every league game until Palace's visit on Saturday and is the one player in City's squad without a natural replacement. "If you want to be real contenders you have to win again, if you don't, it will not be possible".

But Marc Albrighton equalised for Leicester and Ricardo Pereira's 81st-minute rocket handed City a third loss in their last four league games. "We have to be really in the mood and have tunnel vision and see where it will leave us".

But Guardiola urged an assessment of the bigger picture - a 44-point haul at the halfway point of the season, generally a title-winning pace that is simply being outstripped by Liverpool and Tottenham's outstanding efforts.

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The home victory over Newcastle, however, came at the same time as Man City contrived to lose their second match in succession, 2-1 at Leicester.

"We play against Cardiff in the next game, it will be a different game".

Kevin De Bruyne did at least start his first game of the season at the King Power Stadium, after suffering two knee injuries, completing 70 minutes while David Silva, who has missed City's last five matches, was a late substitute.

"We have to try and find solutions". If you play the ball in behind then good, but if they could clear it with the header, we were not there.

"What we wanted to do all the time [was] create a situation, a basis for the rest of the season and now the first part of the season is over. We must keep this feeling and togetherness".

Ben Chilwell played the goalscorer onside as Aymeric Laporte and Aguero combined to tee him up for a crisp finish past Schmeichel.

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