Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has claimed his side do not deserve to be 15 points behind rivals Manchester United.
Reigning champions City have won just three of their past seven league outings, and travel to Old Trafford on Monday to face a team unbeaten in the league since November 17.
Mancini acknowledged United's impressive run of form but has urged his squad to not give up on the title, with the aim of closing the gap before the end of the season.
"We do not deserve to be 15 points behind," Mancini told reporters.
"United have played very well and won a lot of games. They are unbeaten in their last 18 games in the Premier League. Their last defeat was at Norwich. So they deserve to stay at the top. But not by 15 points. It's not a true table.
"Now we have eight games left. If we play well and win a lot of those games, maybe we can reduce the gap. This should be our target at the moment."
The Italian also spoke of his delight at influential midfielder Yaya Toure signing a new four-year contract on Thursday.
"I am happy because for me Yaya is one of the best players in the world," Mancini said.
"He's very important to this club. Yaya is a player who can play to 36 or 37, because he can play in central defence or just in front of the defence."