Jesus Navas says City will need to turn their form around quickly in order to keep Chelsea within sight – starting with three points against Stoke on Wednesday evening.
Stoke recorded a 1-0 win at the Etihad Stadium earlier this season and have been in fine form of late, losing just one of their last nine games in all competitions.
With the Blues winless in four matches, Navas says only a win at the Britannia Stadium will do as the champions desperately try and get their season back on track.
“Stoke are a team who are very well organised and very disciplined,” said Jesus. “As we saw in the first game, if you are not focused and even momentarily lose concentration, they can hurt you – just as they did at the Etihad.
“We were disappointing that day but Stoke played very well and won a game they perhaps weren’t expected to win. They are playing very well at the moment and unless we have to be at our best from start to finish.”
Navas admits Stoke remind him of a team he regularly faced during his time in Spain, comparing Mark Hughes’ men to Osasuna.
“While Stoke are a very English team, they do remind me of a side I used to come up against when I was at Sevilla,” he said.
Whenever we played Osasuna, it was always a difficult game. They were a more physical side than the other La Liga teams and they played at a smaller stadium where their fans were right on top of you
“We know from experience that playing at Stoke can be similar in many ways, especially if their fans are behind them throughout so we have to try and get on top early and perhaps quieten the home support.”
Though the trip to the Potteries will come too soon for new signing Wilfried Bony, Navas says he is looking forward to a player that reminds him of former team-mate and friend, Alvaro Negredo.
Bony will link up with his new team-mates later in the week and Navas says the Ivorian will give the champions a different dimension to their forward line.
“Bony is a top striker who has always performed very well when he’s played against us,” he said. “He is powerful, has good technique and excellent movement so I’m really looking forward to playing alongside him.
“He is a great addition to the strikers we already have and I think he will do really well at City.
“Wilfried has similar strengths to Alvaro in that they both play very well with their back to the goal. That will give us something different and add a new dimension to our attacks. I’m looking forward to playing alongside him.”