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De Jong confident for final push

Sunderland Nigel

Sunderland Nigel

Nigel de Jong believes Sunday’s five-goal romp was the perfect tonic as the Blues enter the home straight of the Premier League season.

Seven games now separate City from Champions League qualification and the Dutchman is sure that the collective spirit will push Roberto Mancini’s men over the finishing line.

“The win sent out an obvious message,” he declared after Sunderland were destroyed by a fluent City attacking unit.

“There are seven games to go and anything can happen but Sunday’s win was a great confidence boost.

“If we perform as a team then we have plenty of quality. As long as we set up the defence correctly then our attacking players can show what they can do.”

De Jong showed his own versatility against the Black Cats, prowling the midfield in a two-man central partnership with Yaya Toure. It was a departure from his normal role as a shield for the back four.

“I am there to help the attacking players out,” he smiled. “Win the ball, give it to them and let them play. Our main goal from the start of the season was to qualify for the Champions League and that is still the main target.

“After Sunday we are closer; it was a helpful three points.”

Teammate Joleon Lescott, a vital part of another clean sheet as Joe Hart closes in on that record, summed up the win over Sunderland in one sentence.

“It was the most complete performance of the season,” he asserted. “We were collectively on point.”

The 5-0 win stretched City’s unbeaten home run to 13 games - 12 of them victories - during which time the Blues have scored 36 goals.

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