The champions have fallen a near-insurmountable 15 points behind rivals Manchester United at the top of the Barclays Premier League with just nine games remaining.
The latest blow came at Goodison Park as City were once again outplayed by their bogey side Everton, losing 2-0 after goals from Leon Osman and Nikica Jelavic.
City still play United next month but the objectives may be to salvage pride, delay the inevitable crowning of their neighbours and score a psychological blow ahead of a potential FA Cup semi-final meeting.
First-team coach David Platt said: "Our intention is to win football matches, full stop.
"It doesn't change anything for us between now and the end of the season.
"Every game we go into we have a focus and a professionalism to try to win it. That is what we try to do, to ensure we finish as high up the table as we possibly can and to try to ensure we win the FA Cup."
A week ago City produced one of their best performances of the season as they crushed Barnsley in the FA Cup quarter-finals. On the same day Everton crashed to an unsettling 3-0 loss to Wigan in the same competition.
The difference in both sides on Saturday was considerable as Everton produced a display full of commitment and a determination to make amends.
City failed to compete with Everton's enthusiasm and were fortunate Kevin Mirallas had already had a goal harshly disallowed before Osman struck his superb opener after 32 minutes.
The visitors had chances to equalise, most notably when Jan Mucha denied James Milner and Pablo Zabaleta in the second half and they could have had a penalty late on. Marouane Fellaini was penalised for handling a Carlos Tevez shot but despite the Belgian being inside the area, a free-kick was awarded outside.
But Everton deservedly held out and they wrapped up the win in injury time as Fellaini broke clear and set up Jelavic.
It was City's sixth defeat by Everton in eight meetings and a fourth successive loss at Goodison since Roberto Mancini took charge.
Everton may have done City a huge favour by holding United in last season's run-in, but they still remain a huge thorn in their side.
With Mancini "a bit angry" after the game, Platt said: "It is never an easy place to come. You know you are going to get worked and the crowd are going to be up for it. You are always under a certain amount of pressure."
City's prospects suffered before the game when talisman Yaya Toure was forced to pull out through illness.
He was sorely missed, as were injured duo Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero, but Platt offered no excuses.
Platt said: "It doesn't help but that is what we have a squad for, people come in.
"We have got a little run of injuries and we lost Yaya on the eve of the game with migraine.
"We were without key players but that is the way it is.
"That is why we carry a squad, that is why everybody is capable of playing at this club. We have to get on with it."