De Jong - We can't fall behind

Midfielder feels defending champions must improve

Nigel de Jong: Believes playing catch-up is a 'bad habit' for City

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Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong knows his side must shrug off their 'bad habit' of falling behind in matches if they want to defend their Premier League title.

City's 2-2 draw at Liverpool in their second Premier League game of the season was the fourth match in succession they had needed to wipe out a deficit.

The run stretches back to their dramatic title-clinching win over QPR at the end of last season and also includes the Community Shield win over Chelsea and opening league victory against Southampton.

City were outplayed for long spells at Anfield but snatched a point after the rejuvenated Carlos Tevez seized on a Martin Skrtel mistake 10 minutes from time.

Bad habit

De Jong told City TV: "I don't know what it is. It is a bad habit.

"We picked that up from the last game of the season against QPR and have continued that in these first two games of the new season.

"We have to improve and show that we are up for the test wherever we go, away or at home.

"We have a lot of qualities in the squad but we just have to improve.

"It is not going to be an easy season. Wherever you go everyone wants to beat the champions. We have to stand tall with each other and improve."

The Dutchman added: "We played some decent football at times, not all the game but at least we tried a lot of times.

"It was a pity we let the goals in but on the other side we showed the determination to come back twice and get away with a point.

"It is not always easy to play football at Anfield. We knew that from the last couple of times."

The 27-year-old was impressed by City frontman Tevez who, after last season's well-documented problems, has returned fitter, focused and sharp.

Credit

De Jong said: "He looks quite slim. He always had a little belly but that is gone now at the moment! All credit to him.

"Don't get me wrong, it is always hard to get him off the ball, but I'd rather have a slim Tevez than one with a belly.

"As long as he scores goals for me it is okay. He is on fire at the moment and a Tevez on fire is good for any team wherever he is.

"I am just glad he is still part of this City team and if he continues like this he will score a lot of goals this season."