KIT Symons, Crystal Palace's assistant manager, admitted the Eagles are finding life hard in the Premiership after losing 2-1 at home to Manchester City at Selhurst Park on Staurday.

Iain Dowie's right-hand man said: "It's tough at the top but much tougher at the bottom.

"I'm pleased with the attitude, the commitment, the drive. I couldn't ask for more from the players but we're getting punished at the minute and need to turn the corner.

"The good thing is that the only way it up. So we're very positive still.

We knew it was going to be difficult and we're under no illusions.

"But a lot of games have been on a knife edge, we've played some good sides and had some close games. We need to keep the faith and keep our togetherness.

"Manchester City played well. We've got to give them credit.

"They have been under a lot of pressure and responded well and they showed very good character throughout."

Two goals from Nicolas Anelka gave City their first away win of the season and eased the pressure on their under-fire manager, Kevin Keegan, while leaving Palace rooted to the foot of the table with just one point for six games.

Palace had the first real scoring chance when Wayne Routledge's dangerous low cross found Sandor Torghelle, but the Hungarian failed to make proper contact from just five yards out.

At the other end, Anelka found space on the right and he crossed for Antoine Sibierski, whose shot was heading for the bottom corner but hit Jon Macken standing near the Palace goal-line and rebounded to safety.

However, Anelka put City ahead after 55 minutes with a fine individual effort. He turned one way and then the other before before striking a low shot that beat Julian Speroni on its way into the keeper's left-hand corner.

Palace substitute Nicola Ventola, who come on after 60 minutes, headed wide of the post when he should have done much better.

However, Ventola then went down under the combined challenge of Joey Barton and Sylvain Distin. Andy Johnson, who had missed from the spot at Portsmouth the previous weekend, this time drove the penalty beyond City goalkeeper David James Palace went into last night's Carling Cup tie against Hartlepool, played as we went to press, without Johnson, who suffered a bruised leg against Manchester City.

Also missing are summer signing Mark Hudson, out with an ankle injury, while veteran striker Neil Shipperley is suspended after being sent-off while playing for the reserves.

This Saturday, Palace are back in Premiership action with a trip to Aston Villa.