Mark Hughes has urged his chastened players to mark their return to home turf by re-capturing the form that put Premier League leaders Chelsea to the sword just a fortnight ago.
Since that performance City have been held at Bolton and soundly beaten at Tottenham, allowing their close rivals for the vital fourth place to leapfrog and leave the Blues eighth going into tomorrow's game with Sunderland.
City's manager declared: "We’re back at home after two difficult fixtures away - and we’ve got to get back to the level we produced against Chelsea. We’re more than capable of doing that.
There are a lot of games in close proximity now, so it’s about winning as many as you can. We’ve got the capability to pick points up. We know that, we’ve proved that
"We’ve just come through a period in which we’ve beaten Arsenal and Chelsea, and also shown great spirit and courage in difficult circumstances against Bolton to come back three times.
"Whether that had a negative impact on what we were able to produce at Tottenham, who knows? We’ve picked the bones out, but sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say: 'We weren’t good enough on the night.'
"The games where that’s been the case have been few and far between this season. We’ve been pleased with what we’ve produced in the vast majority of the games.
"We were missing a number of key personnel but we don’t want to sound as if we’re making excuses. We’ll get more people back at the weekend, and see if we can improve on what we produced."
Hughes, who lost Joleon Lescott before the Spurs game, added: "We had a setback with Joleon we hadn't anticipated. We’re going to have to look at what we’ve got at the back in terms of cover.
"But you’re going to get injuries and you’re going to get suspensions at certain times in the season. It’s how you deal with them. You don’t use them as an excuse for losing."