MANCHESTER, March 3- Ivory Coast striker Wilfried Bony believes Manchester City must strive for maximum points from their remaining 11 Premier League fixtures to have any chance of catching leaders Chelsea.
Manuel Pellegrini’s defending champions play struggling Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday trailing Jose Mourinho’s team, who have played one match less, by five points.
And Bony concedes City’s hopes of retaining their crown are slender.
“It makes it very difficult now. If Chelsea win (their game in hand), it’s very difficult to get close to them,” said Bony.
“There are still 11 more games and we have to hope they drop more points.
“Not every game is the same. We have to concentrate on winning the rest of our games and getting maximum points because it’s more difficult than before.
“We need to win on Wednesday and then keep winning, it’s difficult for us but we still hope we can do it.”
Bony, who signed for City for £28 million ($43 million, 37 million euros) from Swansea City in January, is still waiting to make his first start for his new club.
He was used as a substitute in the 2-1 defeat by Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday as Pellegrini’s team failed to cut the gap on Chelsea, who went on to lift the League Cup later that day.
The Chilean manager has the task of lifting his players to avoid another slip-up against bottom-placed Leicester.
However, Pellegrini says City will not surrender their Premier League crown and must focus on getting the job done against Nigel Pearson’s side.
“I think we never give up about the title,” Pellegrini said.
“We must try to improve our play first and after that try to win our next game. You never know in football what will happen.
“It is more difficult when you have less games and you continue with the same points but I don’t think the team can think about that.
“The team must think about how we can win the next game.”
– Cause for hope –
Meanwhile, Leicester midfielder Matty James insists the rock-bottom Foxes still have cause for hope in their survival bid.
James believes Pearson’s team can take heart from results going their way over the weekend – one in which they took an enforced break due to scheduled opponents Chelsea’s participation in the League Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur.
They remain just four points adrift of safety and could also benefit from being fresher than their opponents, who have lost to Barcelona and Liverpool since the Foxes drew at Everton a week ago last Sunday.
“The good thing for us is we are not playing badly,” James said.
“We are creating chances, we are scoring goals. If we can get that change of luck and get that right result in one game, it would set us up nicely for the next one.
“We have a tough game next at Manchester City but we have had a long break to recover and get ready for that and go again.
“You always look at the other results and think, ‘what if?’, but ultimately we have to win our games and get points from our games.
“We took a point at Everton, which is a tough place to go and play, so we will take the positives from that.”