Aguero, Mancini urge City to push on
Sergio Aguero has urged his Manchester City team-mates to "finish the job" and win the Premier League. The Argentina striker feels the quality of the City squad has enabled him to settle quickly since his club record £38m move from Atletico Madrid last summer. City established themselves as title favourites after losing just one of their opening 18 matches, and Aguero wants an equally strong second half of the season.
The 23-year-old wrote on his personal website: "I couldn't have wished for a better start to this new era in my personal and professional life, and everything I set for myself is being fulfilled. Fortunately, the adaptation was faster than I thought. It helped a lot to arrive at a club with a very serious project and a team with a solid base of great players and good people.
"We made a great start to the season and now we have to finish the job. We hope we can keep this pace. We want to win the league and we will give everything to succeed."
City were actually frustrated in their last outing as they were held to a goalless draw at West Bromwich Albion on Boxing Day. They now face a test of their trophy-winning credentials as they begin a tough January programme with a New Year's Day trip to Sunderland tomorrow.
The game is quickly followed by a home clash against Liverpool on Tuesday. City then face Manchester United in the FA Cup and have two more encounters with Liverpool in the League Cup semi-finals, as well as league games against Wigan Athletic and Tottenham Hotspur before the month ends.
Manager Roberto Mancini was not overly concerned by his team's failure to score for the first time this season at The Hawthorns, but has warned against complacency. "I think there will be some moments when we don't score goals or some when United score five goals, like in the last two or three weeks," said the Italian. "But this is normal.
"We have 20 games and I think we will score in a lot of games in this championship. But if we want to win this title we should focus on every game. Thinking the game is easy is impossible. Every game is very difficult.
"When we play the likes of West Bromwich, like Sunderland, they will be tough games and we should concentrate 100 per cent. We want to win this title and will do everything to win this title. We must focus on the next 20 games and think positive, [especially] in difficult moments."
City were expected to beat West Brom comfortably, but the Baggies were well organised in defence and made the most of the limited possession they had. By getting numbers back, manager Roy Hodgson found a tactic to frustrate City, who lacked their usual bite, and Mancini expects more of the same at the Stadium of Light.
"From now until the end, we will find many games like the one against West Brom," said the Sampdoria legend. "It will probably be the same against Sunderland.
"Sometimes if you don't pay attention, you can risk losing. Against West Brom in the second half we conceded counter-attacks for some reason. It is important we score quickly in this game and take control."
Mancini cool on own contract talks
Mancini is likely to make a number of changes and test the depth of his star-studded squad in the coming three days. The former Italy forward has regularly rotated strikers, wide midfielders and fullbacks, but even the likes of Yaya Toure and David Silva may given time out now.
"David probably he needs a rest some time, but he is very important for us," explained Mancini. "It is impossible for David, Yaya to play well always. It is impossible for any player. Sometimes they need to rest."
City have no injury concerns, with fullbacks Micah Richards and Aleksandar Kolarov back in contention.
Mancini, meanwhile, insists he is in no hurry to discuss a new contract with the club hierarchy. The 47-year-old has less than 18 months on his present deal.
"I am happy, there are no talks," he insisted. "I don't have this problem. I need to focus on the team now, on the championship."