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Walker delivers rallying call to Man City 'family' after title setback

2:30 AM GMT+4 02/12/2019
Riyad Mahrez Raheem Sterling Kyle Walker John Stones Newcastle vs Man City 2019-20
The Premier League champions have fallen 11 points behind leaders Liverpool after conceding a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Newcastle

Kyle Walker believes that the Manchester City ‘family’ will pull together to rescue their title challenge.

The Premier League champions fell further behind Liverpool after a surprising 2-2 draw at Newcastle that leaves them trailing the leaders by 11 points.

After two title-winning seasons when they amassed the highest-ever points tallies in English football history, City have not matched that high standard this campaign.

And Walker told his team-mates after the setback at St James’ Park that they must rediscover their spirit of last season when they overhauled a seven-point deficit to become champions.

“I have just said in there: 'I look at you guys, you are my family',” the England international said. “I see the lads on the bus more than I see my own kids.

“We are going to experience ups and downs throughout our playing careers together at Manchester City. Fortunately up to now it has been plain sailing. We have gone on and done what we have done.

“We are only human. We don't go on to the pitch expecting to draw or lose but there are going to be mistakes in games. Some things will cost you games.

“But now I feel we have got to pull together as a squad and get the belief going again and make sure we do go on a run to put some pressure on the people above us.”

Last season a defeat at Newcastle proved to be a turning point, as City went on a 14-game winning streak to win the title by a single point and Walker says they must produce something similar if they are to have any chance of overtaking Jurgen Klopp’s side.

“That is what it will take,” he said. “The points gap is getting bigger now.

“We know we have the ability in the squad to go and do what we have done two seasons running. Hopefully we can do it again.

“We have to take our hats off to Liverpool at this moment in time. They have been fantastic and credit where it is due. They deserve to be top but it is not over until it is over as they say.

“We have the ability in the dressing room to go and catch anyone on our day. We have to take it game by game and keep chalking them off, getting three points and moving to the next one.”

City have been without key players for much of the season with long-term absentees Leroy Sane and Aymeric Laporte missing at Newcastle along with Sergio Aguero and Oleksandr Zinchenko.

But Walker says they can’t use injuries as an excuse for their disappointing form, commenting: “They are a great miss - both individually and collectively for the team.

“If you look back to our first season John [Stones] and Nico [Otamendi] played centre-half for most of the campaign and we destroyed the league.

“If you look at last season compared to the season before, Bernardo [Silva] didn't play but he comes back and gets player of the season.

“With the quality we have anyone can come in and fill the spots.

“We are missing these players because they are good players. But there is more than enough ability on that bus to go and frighten any team.”