Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart said his side need a “million per cent” improvement for their fixture against Arsenal on Monday.
City’s visit to the Emirates Stadium is a clash between contenders and could have a big impact in the Premier League title race.
A late winner from Kelechi Iheanacho spared City’s blushes against Swansea City last time out, and Hart demanded a better performance all-round against Arsenal.
“We need to be a million per cent better against Arsenal,” he said.
“We need to step up. We can be awesome when we want to be, so we need to be more consistent, that’s what we’re looking for.
“It’s a shame it needs the dragon to be poked before we come out of the cage.
“We know what we’ve got here and it’s frustrating when we don’t do it, but it’s a long season and we’ve got ourselves into a good place.”
Manuel Pellegrini’s side have lost four times in the league so far this season and sit three points behind Leicester City in the table.
Their recent lacklustre performances have been put down to fatigue, but Hart said they cannot keep using that excuse.
“We used that excuse last week, so we can’t use it again this week,” the 28-year-old said.
“We probably were [tired against Swansea] but it’s not an excuse I’ll use. I refuse to use that.
“It’s easy for me to say that, playing in goal, but I don’t think the lads would want to use it either. We didn’t play well, but we won.
“We have to get our heads together and start playing properly again. We’re [near the] top of the league, we went through in the Champions League as group winners and in the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup.
“We’re in a good place, we just need to start performing as we know we can. At least seven, eight of us. We know every couple of weeks people will have off days.”