Defender Gael Clichy admits Manchester City have yet to find the form which made them champions last season but is confident it will return.
Last weekend the defending champions lost the Manchester derby to title rivals United, suffering their first Barclays Premier League defeat of the season and first at home for almost two years. It handed the Red Devils a six-point advantage at the top of the table but Clichy knows that is not insurmountable.
"For me the problem this year is that we are not playing as well as a unit as we did last year and that's what we have to work on," he said. "I am very confident though because we have the quality and I am sure we are going to be there at the end of the season. I personally believe and feel that we have a mission and its aim is to become champions again."
He went on: "The feeling within the team is great at the moment and I hope that the fans are behind us because we will need them to go all the way."
Clichy, whose mistake led to the free-kick from which United scored the 90th-minute winner, insists they can take positives from the United defeat.
And he hopes the trip to Newcastle will spark them back into life on Saturday although they will have to do it without key defensive midfielder Gareth Barry as he serves a one-match ban after accepting an FA charge of using abusive and/or insulting words to an official in an incident after the United defeat.
"We hadn't lost a game for a long time at the Etihad but it's done now and the only thing we can do is focus on the positive things that happened during that game," said the Frenchman.
"We went 2-0 down and again we showed great team spirit in getting it back to 2-2 - apart from the last 20 minutes of the first half, I don't think they were on top of us.
"When you lose a game in the last minute it's always difficult - but we can't feel sorry for ourselves.
"We know what we did well and what we didn't do so well and we have to try to avoid those bad points."
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