Kevin De Bruyne and Bacary Sagna are determined to put a bad week behind them when Manchester City travel to Sunderland in the Capital One Cup.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men had not even conceded a goal in their five games prior to that and they will not want the blip to develop into anything more serious.
But City did create a number of chances in both losses, particularly as they threatened a comeback in the second half against the Hammers on Saturday, and record signing De Bruyne hopes to maintain the momentum.
The £54million forward, who scored City’s goal in the 2-1 weekend loss, said: “We just have to play like we did in the second half. The only thing we have to do is score goals and then obviously we can win that game.
“It’s always difficult and it won’t be easy at Sunderland but we have to get a win over there. We want to do well in all the competitions.”
City’s problems of the past week hardly compare to those of Sunderland ahead of the third-round tie – a repeat of the 2014 final – at the Stadium of Light.
The Wearsiders sit bottom of the Premier League with just two points from six games and their only victory this term was their 6-3 success over League Two Exeter in the previous round of the League Cup.
If some City players were tired at the weekend after their exertions against Juve, Pellegrini may see the tie as an opportunity to rest some bigger names ahead of Saturday’s game at Tottenham.
Joe Hart, Sagna, Eliaquim Mangala, Aleksandar Kolarov, Yaya Toure and Fernandinho have started every game this season. Mangala is a fitness doubt anyway after being withdrawn at half-time against West Ham, as is David Silva with a calf problem.
Vincent Kompany, Gael Clichy, Pablo Zabaleta and Fabian Delph are already ruled out.
Young strikers Kelechi Iheanacho, scorer of a late winner at Crystal Palace earlier this month, and Patrick Roberts, a £12million summer signing from Fulham, could be given an opportunity.
Spanish right-back Pablo Maffeo, who has been on the fringe of the first-team squad this term, could also come in if Sagna is given the night off. Zabaleta, the first choice in the position, is sidelined until at least the end of the month.
Sagna said: “We have a big squad with quality players. Pablo is injured at the moment, but I don’t know whether he will play me or not – my job is to bring something to the team.
“We want to win as many cups as possible. We will think about what happened against West Ham and work towards coming back stronger.
“Every team is dangerous and hard to play against.”