Last Updated: Tue, 10 Apr 2012 12:56
Boss Roberto Mancini believes injuries to key players such as Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany have cost Manchester City the title.
Aguero, Kompany and Joleon Lescott all picked up injuries over the course of the last month and Mancini feels the loss of the trio at a crucial period has cost City Premier League glory.
"I think in the last two or three games we didn't play very well because we lost Kompany and Lescott together in a key moment," Mancini told the Manchester Evening News. "We lost Aguero for two games, important games against Stoke and Sunderland.
"Probably in the last 10 days we lost the title. But we are professional, we need to finish well, win the games and after we will see what's happened."
City trail Manchester United by eight points and the Old Trafford side can now afford to slip to defeat in the Manchester derby at the end of the month and still seal Premier League glory.
However, while admitting it appears unlikely, Mancini has not given up on securing the top domestic prize despite United's lead with just six games remaining.
"Eight points is difficult, but five points was difficult as well. I know football and I think that if you have a chance you should do everything. We have six games, never say never," he added. "It's difficult because they have more experience than us and eight points is too much in this moment but I believe always."
Meanwhile, striker Mario Balotelli will miss the next three games due to suspension and could face a further sanction from the FA for a challenge on Alex Song that went unpunished by referee Martin Atkinson in the defeat at Arsenal last time out.
Mancini has said he will "probably" sell the Italian forward in the summer but Balotelli's agent Mino Raiola insists he is keen to remain at the Etihad and Balotelli has now issued a statement apologising for his actions.
"At the end of the season I will speak with the club and we'll see," Balotelli said in a statement provided by Raiola to news agency Ansa.
"I'm very sorry for what happened and for the disappointment caused to City."
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