James Milner has urged Manchester City's owners to keep faith with the squad as the club's hopes of winning the Premier League title fade and speculation surrounding the future of manager Roberto Mancini increases.
City have surrendered a position of authority to fall eight points behind league-leaders Manchester United with six games remaining in the season. Unless there is a major turnaround in the closing weeks, Sheikh Mansour is unlikely to get a return on his investment this season.
Speculation has started with regard to Mancini's position, while there has been talk of a cull of players in the summer.
Milner feels that no matter how much money is spent, reported to be £400 million by Sheikh Mansour, the players need time to gel and the England midfielder has called on the club to remain patient.
He said: "We have brought players in and it takes time for them to settle, coming from abroad or from other clubs, and gelling as a team. We have challenged this season and are still fighting until the end.
"As a team, to move forwards, to keep improving, you have to work hard and be together for a number of years. Hopefully, we will keep improving as a team and moving forwards as a club.
"United are obviously a strong side, but we knew that all season. For the last 20 years, they have got that knack of winning and know how to close out title races. This is the first year we have been up there as a group. But it is not over yet. We will keep fighting to the end.
"Learning is the biggest thing, of being in these positions. Last season, we won the FA Cup, having that winning mentality to go on and win trophies.
"You ask any player and they will tell you that winning the Premier League is so special because you can win other trophies by having off days and get through cup ties, but the Premier League is 38 tough games, home and away.''