Mancini hopes to bounce back
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is hoping he can get his side's title bid back on track when Liverpool visit Eastlands on Tuesday.
City missed the chance to go clear at the top of the table when losing 1-0 at Sunderland on Sunday, Ji Dong-Won's last-gasp goal proving their downfall.
David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Mario Balotelli were all rested for the game at the Stadium of Light, but are set to return to face Liverpool. City have picked up just one point, in a disappointing goalless draw at West Brom, over the Christmas period.
"I hope it isn't going to be difficult to pick the players up after the defeat," Mancini said. "I hope they understand we are a top team and we can't concede goals in the last minute on the counter attack like we did at Sunderland.
"But it is finished and we have to think about the next game. I hope the players can have a positive reaction. We lost a big chance to go three points clear of Manchester United.
"It was an important game but we have to start thinking positively about the Liverpool game and the future. We have 45 points and we have scored 53 goals, these are things to be positive about.
"I'm not worried about us not scoring in the last couple of games. What I'm worried about is having players on the pitch who understand the situation when we're vulnerable to a counter-attack. We need to improve in this situation.
"We had chances to score but sometimes, when you can't win a game, you must make sure you don't lose it. We seemed to want to attack with 10 players and to do that's impossible.
"We've had a bit of bad luck, but things can soon change. The players understand we've missed an important opportunity, but it's vital they switch on for the next game now. We've got 45 points and scored 53 goals, and we need another 45 points in the second half of the season.
"I changed six or seven players because I trust all my players to come in and do a good job. It's impossible to play with the same players all the time, especially when you play twice in 48 hours.
"Mario had a little problem with his ankle so for that reason we left him in the stands. I hope he's going to be okay for Liverpool. We don't have any other injury problems."