MANCHESTER CITY will be feeling the heat against Sunderland tonight to ensure they remain in the Premier League title race.
That’s the view of Gus Poyet, as Sunderland look to follow Chelsea in becoming only the second team this season to record home and away league victories over Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
City’s defeat at Liverpool on Sunday left Pellegrini’s men seven points adrift of the league leaders, with two games in hand – the first of which is Sunderland’s rearranged trip to the Etihad Stadium.
Poyet, who masterminded Sunderland’s 1-0 Stadium of Light win over City back in November, knows that will create a few butterflies in the home ranks tonight, particularly if the Black Cats can survive the early onslaught.
And the head coach hopes rock-bottom Sunderland can prey on that insecurity to keep their own slim hopes of beating the drop alive.
Poyet told SportMail: “The situation is difficult for Man City now because it’s not in their hands. They cannot make any more mistakes.
“There is pressure on them to win and I hope we can take advantage.
“We need something special now. They are difficult games this week, but the idea is to make it difficult for the opposition and believe.
“I don’t want anyone complaining before the game starts. Don’t feel sorry yourselves, just go and perform.
“We showed we were able to defend well against Man City at home and we did magnificently in the (Capital One Cup) final until that unbelievable goal from Yaya Toure.
“So let’s try to do the same.”
Sunderland’s chances of recording a huge upset have at least been boosted by the absence of Toure, who is out for up to two weeks with the muscle injury sustained against Liverpool.
Toure’s stunning equaliser in last month’s League Cup final changed the entire complexion of the Wembley showpiece after Sunderland had thwarted City’s attacking efforts up to that point.
Poyet is under no illusions about the other world class performers in City’s ranks, with fit-again Sergio Aguero likely to start, yet realises Toure is a key component in Pellegrini’s side.
“Toure is a big miss, without a doubt,” added Poyet. “He’s the one who changed the final.
“I know that he’s a big influence, so on that side, it could be a bit lucky for us.
“But then they might compensate it with Aguero coming in! They’ve got a great group of players, with plenty of talent.”