Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta fears the club's poor away form could derail their Premier League title challenge.
Sunday's 1-0 loss at Sunderland was their fourth defeat in six Premier League away games this season, as City were frustrated by a resolute hosts' defence.
While Zabaleta knows the race for top spot is likely to go down to the wire in what is the most unpredictable league campaign for years, he feels City's form on the road could prove a major hurdle to overcome.
"There is a long way to go and we have too many games to the end, but when you lose points like that it will be really difficult to fight for the title," he told the Manchester Evening News.
"When you have a defeat like this you want to play as quickly as you can, but we now go into an international break, and then we will face Spurs at home, which will be a crucial game for us."
Zabaleta, Jesus Navas and Edin Dzeko were all introduced in the second half at the Stadium of Light as City searched for an equaliser, but to no avail.
However, the Argentina international is more concerned about the club's inability to keep a clean sheet than their forward line.
"It is true we cannot keep a clean sheet, and when you play away, you must defend much better, and try not to concede goals," he continued.
"It's not happening, every time we play away.
"We need to focus on what we are doing at the moment, and improve our performances away."
|Coach: G. Poyet|
for E. Giaccherini 72'
for S. Fletcher 77'
for A. Johnson 87'
|Benzema adds to Real´s injury concerns|
|Jenkinson: West Ham will not settle for mid-table|
|Montella calm over fan frustrations|
|Blanc: Barca are the model for PSG|
|Newcastle just need three more points - Janmaat|
|Gaya: Six finals left for Valencia|
|Muller wary of Porto counter-attacks|
|Bartomeu plays down Pogba link|
|Verratti hails ´essential´ Ibrahimovic|
|Zidane backs PSG to upset Barca|
|America v Montreal Impact: Klopas unfazed by host´s form|
|Vlaar open to Villa stay|
|Shepherd urges fans not to boycott Newcastle|
|Maritimo 1 Nacional 1: Tiquinho ensures derby finishes all square|
|Fiorentina 0 Verona 1: Diamanti and Neto pay the penalty|
|Elche 1 Real Sociedad 0: Bergara gifts win to hosts|
|Van Persie returns in Under-21 game|
|Turkish Super Lig Review: Galatasaray slip sees Fenerbahce go top|
|Russian Premier League Review: Arsenal Tula and Rostov maintain survival bids|
|Frontzeck named as Korkut´s replacement at Hannover|
|Lopetegui wary of Bayern backlash|
|Pastore plays down Cantona´s world best tag|
|PSG absences no excuse for failure - Blanc|
|Suarez sad to see Gerrard leaving Liverpool|
|Cleber injury adds to Hamburg woes|
|Northern Ireland free to play Romania at Windsor Park|
|Juve sweating on Vidal availability|
|Monaco v Juventus: Evra ready to take control|
|Striking concerns for Chelsea after Drogba injury|
|PSG and Chelsea have bid for Dybala, claims agent|
|Pogba can leave Juve for ´right offer´|
|Bendtner dropped after arriving late for training|
|Messi achievement unrepeatable, says Luis Enrique|
|Football League Preview: Preston and MK Dons battling to join Bristol City|
|Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid: Ancelotti optimistic amid injury concerns|
|Iniesta declared fit for PSG second leg|
|Bale remains a doubt for Atletico clash|
|Schweinsteiger set to face Porto, Ribery to miss out|
|No broken cheekbone for Silva|
|Final appearance can remove negativity at Villa - Fox|
|Bale selected in Football League Team of the Decade|
|PSV director: United and PSG want Depay|
|Korkut sacked by relegation-threatened Hannover|
|Sherwood: Pressure all on Arsenal|
|Newcastle in a ´dangerous moment´ - Colback|
|Kovac hopes to have Modric fit for Euro qualifier|
|Copa Libertadores Preview: Cruzeiro boss Oliveira does not fear sack|
|MLS Review: Revs extend unbeaten run, Timbers stun City|
|Fournier proud and disappointed|
|Shaw ready to make an impact|
|Hazard among best three in the world - Mourinho|
|Carver: Newcastle are in relegation battle|
|CAF Champions League Review: Setif get two away goals, Al Ahly denied late on|
|Inzaghi praises Milan derby officials|
|La Liga Review: Granada frustrate Sevilla, Villarreal´s woes continue|
|Inter should have had a penalty, Mancini fumes|
|Ligue 1 Review: Lyon return top after derby draw|
|Inter 0 Milan 0: Disappointing derby ends in stalemate|
|Primeira Liga Review: Sporting made to battle, Penafiel running out of time|
|Balotelli targets officials in latest social media outburst|
|Bundesliga Review: Werder Bremen edge Nordderby, De Bruyne rescues Wolfsburg|
|Serie A Review: Napoli close on stumbling Roma|
|Pochettino congratulates 30-goal Kane|
|Rodgers questions Liverpool´s mental strength|
|Carver counting on experience after latest defeat|
|Sherwood marvels at Grealish potential|
|Eredivisie Review: Dordrecht relegated as Go Ahead Eagles stun Feyenoord|
|Newcastle United 1 Tottenham 3: Losing streak continues amid fan boycott|
|Kouyate elbow on Silva accidental - Allardyce|
|Aston Villa 2 Liverpool 1: Delph ends Gerrard´s hopes of dream farewell|
|Pellegrini hails City response to derby defeat|
|Silva back home after Kouyate elbow|
|Manchester City 2 West Ham 0: Silva injury sours routine win|
|Bayern Munich v Porto: Neuer rallies Germans for uphill battle|
|Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain: Marquinhos keeps the faith ahead of Camp Nou test|
|Fer closes in on QPR return|
|Crouch set for surgery|
|Dortmund confirm Tuchel as Klopp replacement|
|Adams leaves relegation-threatened Tranmere|
|Real still unsure over Modric injury|
|Tevez rubbishes Juve exit talk|
|Moyes: I had to fight to keep Rooney at United|
|Perth Glory 3 Melbourne City 1: Maclaren treble the difference|
|Dyche: Burnley are too honest|
|Illarramendi eager for Real stay|
|Hazard issues Chelsea warning|
|MLS Review: Injury-time winner buoys Galaxy, Martins shows class for Sounders|
|Pastore talents ´unpredictable´ - Blanc|
|Liverpool much bigger than City - Rodgers|
|AFC Champions League Preview: Evergrande look to progress|
|Clarke expects distraught Federici to bounce back|
|Toure is City´s scapegoat - agent|
|Allegri praises high-flying Juve|
|Athletic Bilbao 4 Getafe 0: Hosts end winless run|