Kolo Toure makes no apologies for Manchester City's bore draw with Manchester United but admits Saturday's clash with Birmingham is a must-win fixture.
The Eastlands outfit and their bitter local rivals played out a dour stalemate on Wednesday night with the home side coming in for criticism for their negative approach of playing just Carlos Tevez up front.
Ivory Coast international Toure believes that if City are to challenge for silverware in the top flight then they must avoid defeat against their title rivals and then take maximum points against other clubs.
"It's difficult to play against the big teams. If you don't lose against them then that is good," he said.
"But for sure this weekend it will be different as these are must-win games.
"If you want to be fighting for the league you have to beat these teams. I am not saying they are bad teams, but if we want to be top then we have to win those games.
"The most important thing in the Premier League is to make sure you beat the teams that you are supposed to beat.
"If you can do that and then draw against the big teams like United then you will be OK. You can be up there. It's a long season."
The former Arsenal centre-back has called on City's supporters to show patience with the team and manager Roberto Mancini and has warned the fans not to expect a buccaneering approach in the big games.
"We know about United. They are a top club with top players and it was important not to lose the game as we had to keep the fourth place," he added.
"When you play against the top teams, the most important thing is to try not to lose.
"This was a difficult game but we are delighted with a draw. Of course, the fans have to be patient. It's very difficult as we were playing against top players.
"If you make a mistake then you will get punished. That's what we didn't want to happen.
"Most importantly, we have a draw and a point and that's good. The most important thing is not to lose."
What will be the outcome in the match Man City vs Birmingham?