Pep Guardiola says it is far too early to think Saturday's shock loss at Norwich will be crucial in the Premier League title race despite the champions slipping five points behind Liverpool.
Guardiola's back-to-back Premier League champions were usually sloppy as they suffered a shock 3-2 reverse at Carrow Road, with defensive lapses highlighting the importance of injured centre back Aymeric Laporte.
Liverpool had earlier beaten Newcastle 3-1 at Anfield to make it five wins out of five, and City's slip-up saw them already fall behind by five points even in the very early stages of the season.
Guardiola rubbished talk of defeat at this stage giving Liverpool an advantage in the title race, saying he does not doubt his players can challenge for a third straight championship.
"Five points is five points - but we are in September," Guardiola said.
"What are we supposed to do? Say 'it's September and congratulations to Liverpool, you champions?'
"Not for one second am I going to doubt my players."
Guardiola also expressed frustration that his side might be expected to hit the heights in every game, and are being held up to too high a standard after a couple of amazing seasons.
He added: "The people cannot expect we win every time or make 100 points (every season).
"Even with the (score at) 3-2 we had chances to make another one. The team never gave up."
Although a lot of the blame will be laid on the defence, and especially Nicolas Otamendi, but Guardiola refused to blame his back-line, who have to cope without Laporte for six months through injury.
"Nico (Otamendi) doesn't know someone is coming and nobody tells him," he continued. "Sometimes you know we make mistakes. I think sometimes we forget these guys are human.
"Football is quick, things can go wrong and I must see what I can do to help them.
"How many times did they (Stones and Otamendi) play together? It is the central defenders we have. How many games did John and Nic play together in three years? A lot, and we won a lot of those games."
Norwich boss delighted
Norwich manager Daniel Farke was naturally delighted as they earned their second win of the season, by far eclipsing their first win against Newcastle especially considering the length of his injury list.
"It is definitely a proud night without a doubt," he said. "To win against the best team in the world as Norwich City who are promoted and have no chance to spend money and an incredible amount of injuries, it was a win for our key people.
"Sometimes the quality of Man City is so good, you can't defend everything, but in general it was a good performance. My lads deserved to win this game today and we're all delighted we have in the end.
"It's been an unbelievably tough start, facing the reigning champions, the reigning Champions League champions, the reigning Europa League champions, and five points has been a decent start.
"We have to stay calm, it's just one game - an important game definitely, the fans are allowed to celebrate, the players are allowed to celebrate but I have to trust them to stay calm.
"Enjoy this moment today and tomorrow but then we focus again."
Follow Sporting Life on social media - find us on Facebook here or tweet @SportingLifeFC
Related football links
- Norwich stun Man City
- Reds too strong for Newcastle
- Watch: Premier League highlights
- Klopp praises quality Reds
- Back to school: Championship grades
- Alex Keble: England continue steady evolution
- Harry who? Meet Leicester's new star
- Van Dijk to be world's best?
- Star man for surprising Swans
- QUIZ: Test your football knowledge
- Fantasy Football: Pick your team now!
- Football results