Cardiff City need three wins from their last six Premier League fixtures to give themselves a chance of staying in the top flight.
They have matches against Burnley, Brighton, Fulham and Palace and all four are fixtures the Bluebirds have hopes of winning.
Cardiff lost against title-chasing Manchester City away on Wednesday (v Chelsea and Spurs respectively), while relegation rivals Brighton and Palace also lost.
It is now imperative that manager Neil Warnock’s team win at Burnley in their next fixture and fire up hopes of survival.Embed from Getty Images
“My players could not have given us any more,” he said. “I was disappointed to concede early doors. Manchester City move the ball so quickly it is difficult.
“It would have been interesting if we scored at the end to see how nervous we could have made them, but I have to be pleased.
“Neil Etheridge played really well, but he he should have saved their first goal. He will be disappointed with that.
“When I went on the pitch after Neil had a great second half and pulled off some great saves, I said ‘it’s a pity about the goal, son’ and he replied ‘gaffer De Bruyne didn’t mean it.’Embed from Getty Images
“I shouted to Kevin at half-time and asked ‘did you mean that? Tell me the truth.’
“He said ‘No I didn’t.’ So I can let Neil off, although he should still save it!”
“He meant to cross it, but the power of the cross was too much.
“To concede a goal as early as that, you do fear the worst. They started like the Real Madrid of 10 years ago, they’re so quick, everybody is comfortable on the ball.”
De Bruyne later admitted during a television interview he was trying to cross.Embed from Getty Images
Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola, of course, had a different view and said: “It was a magnificent goal from Kevin. Unfortunately we missed a lot of chances. we need to score more goals.”
Cardiff must not feel too despondent about their defeat at the Etihad. There are far bigger battles to come over the next few weeks.
Manchester City moved back above Liverpool at the top of the Premier League thanks to an eighth successive league win.
Guardiola’s team are still chasing an unprecedented quadruple.
Warnock made one change to the Cardiff City side that faced Chelsea Joe Ralls called in.Embed from Getty Images
De Bruyne scored after six minutes when he was played in down the left and smashed his shot into the roof of the net from an angle.
The Belgian international later admitted he had been trying to cross the ball.
Manchester City made it 2-0 just before half-time when a cross from the left was chested down at the far post and Sane produced a fierce low finish to beat Etheridge from 18 yards.
Cardiff battled on with Etheridge making a series of stunning saves, but the Bluebirds only managed one shot on target in the 90 minutes.
It was a team display full of character, but Manchester City were simply too powerful.Embed from Getty Images
Substitute Nathaniel Mendez-Laing was lively on his introduction to the match, but Cardiff were unable to score a goal which might have unsettled the home team.
The Bluebirds are without a match this weekend and the focus is on the trip to Burnley a week later.
Manchester City: Ederson, Danilo, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko (Walker 18), De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Mahrez, Sane, Foden, Jesus. Subs not used: Muric, Kompany, Sterling, Gündoğan, Bernardo Silva, David Silva.
Referee: Jonathan Moss