Pep Guardiola hopes to send a title warning to Liverpool this week – but not merely by winning.
The Manchester City boss wants to see his side back to their exhilarating best to crank up the pressure on Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League pacesetters.
City, who currently trail the leaders by five points, are in action three times in the space of eight days with Sunday’s visit of Arsenal quickly followed by games against Everton and Chelsea.
With Liverpool only playing twice in that period, victory in all three matches for City could send a strong signal to their watching rivals.
But Guardiola said: “At the same time, you send a message with the way they play.
“Managers are sitting watching our games on TV and when they see how good we are, that is the best pressure.
“It’s not the points, it’s the way you play. That is what we have to try to do again.”
Guardiola recognises the importance of the coming week but expects there to be several more of such intensity before the season ends.
He said: “If you want to be a real contender you have to make a lot of points. We know it but to make a lot of points you have to be focused our our game and mentality. That is what we have to do again.
“It’s an important week but after this week if we are still there then the next games will be important too. When you arrive at this stage, every game is closer or further away from your wishes, your dreams.”
A year ago City were already 15 points clear at the top as they powered to the title. They eventually finished with a record 100 points and with an unprecedented 19-point cushion over their nearest rivals.
Their four defeats this term, the latest of which was a 2-1 reverse at Newcastle in midweek, mean they have already lost twice as many games as they did last season.
Coming from behind is a challenge Guardiola, who also won six league titles across spells in charge of Barcelona and Bayern Munich, is not used to facing but he retains faith in his players.
He said: “I prefer to be like last season but we knew that was exceptional. The satisfaction would be the same and especially if we are who we are.
“The players know exactly the way we are as a strong team and that is what we have to do. The pleasure is to play as good as possible and win games. After that, titles will be a consequence.
“How are we going to win coming from behind? What do we have to do? The only way is we focus.
“When we win, we always want to analyse the bad things we have done and the good things. When we lose in the way we lose, we have to do better in those situations.
“If we do we will be there, if we don’t we will shake the hand of the champion and try next season.”