Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini accepts his team needs an upturn in form to prevent a season that promised unprecedented success from fizzling out.
City may have won the League Cup this month but their quadruple quest has ended with FA Cup and Champions League elimination – to Wigan and Barcelona – in the past week.
In all competitions they have lost four of their last seven games, a clear loss of form after winning 18 and drawing twice in the previous 20.
Their sole focus for the remainder of the season is now their Premier League title challenge, but they face a difficult catch-up job.
City have slipped to fourth while concentrating on cup football over the past three weeks and are nine points behind leaders Chelsea, although with three games in hand.
Pellegrini said: "I hope that City will recover the performance that we played until one month ago.
"I think in the last month we felt a little bit the 18 games that we played in two months – that is the cost of being in all the competitions.
"I always want to stay in every competition, in the Champions League and FA Cup.
"But if you continue in it, it is more difficult. This is the only positive thing (from going out) – we can focus absolutely on the Premier League.
"That is why it is so important to win on Saturday because then we will have same as Liverpool and Arsenal, a week to prepare for every match."
Pellegrini admits he was caught by surprise by Wigan, who recorded another famous shock against City by winning at the Etihad Stadium in the FA Cup quarter-finals last weekend.
He views the midweek loss in Barcelona much differently, given that City had already been trailing 2-0 after the first leg, and takes encouragement from the display.
The Chilean said: "We need to work hard with everyone, with the staff, with all the players.
"We didn't expect to go out against Wigan. I think it is not normal but everyone tried as much as they can in every competition.
"Maybe we paid for thinking about Barcelona three days after the cup."