Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry says the Blues need to be more ruthless against lesser teams in their quest for a top-four finish.
City boast an impressive record against the teams at the peak of the Premier League this season - only losing one of their six clashes with the so-called big four.
Most recently, Roberto Mancini's men were boosted by a 4-2 win at Chelsea, which completed a league double over the West London side.
However, Barry admits that it's the team's habit of dropping points against opposition at the other end of the table that needs to be stamped out.
"If you assess our performances against the top four we would be up there in a mini league table but any team that finishes in the top four has to perform against the teams in the bottom half as well," Barry told the Manchester Evening News.
The fifth-placed side have the chance to improve their record on Sunday when they travel to face a Sunderland outfit just six points above the drop zone.
The Black Cats returned to winning ways with a 4-0 victory over Bolton in midweek but it was only a second win in 19 league games for Steve Bruce's side.
Barry, though, knows that these games have proved to be a stumbling block for City in the past, and the England international is keen to prevent that being the story of their season.
"Three points are massive in the Premier League and we need to keep collecting them," said Barry.
"I'm not sure why we haven't done it against lesser teams.
"Earlier in the season, we had a slump where we failed to win four or five games in a row which we should have won.
"Hopefully, we can put that right before the end of the season, which is the vital part."