Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola lamented a poor performance after his side fell to a 2-1 defeat at Newcastle United on Tuesday night.
A goal after just 24 seconds through Sergio Aguero gave the visitors an early lead.
Aguero opening goal has been officially timed at 24 seconds - the quickest Premier League goal of the season.— City Watch (@City_Watch) January 29, 2019
However, second-half goals from Salomon Rondon and Matt Ritchie meant that City could fall seven points behind Liverpool in the Premier League title race if the Reds beat Leicester at Anfield on Wednesday night.
Speaking to BBC Sport, Guardiola said: "It was not our best night, we didn't make a good performance. We didn't take the rhythm of the game, it was slow and we weren't aggressive enough. They didn't do too much, two shots on target but it was not a good performance.
"Sometimes scoring so early helps, sometimes it's not so good. It didn't help us play today. The referee said don't take the free-kick it until I give permission so I don't know [about the disallowed goal], it isn't why we did not win.
"The game was not good. We did not defend the second ball well, we have to improve.
"We had a chance today to reduce the lead. Tomorrow is a game for our opponent. When you are behind you have to win games and we couldn't do that.
"I know the challenge is big, being in all competitions is what it is. If you want to go up as a club you have to accept that challenge. I prefer to be in that position."
Guardiola and his players know that, following this latest defeat, they cannot afford to drop any more points if they are to win back-to-back league titles. They will be aiming to return to winning ways in their next fixture, which sees them host Arsenal on Sunday at 16:30 GMT.