We must stop falling behind - De Jong

PA Sport

Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong accepts the champions must kick their "bad habit" of falling behind to mount a successful title defence.

City's 2-2 draw at Liverpool in their second Barclays 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 last season and includes the Community Shield win over Chelsea and opening league victory against Southampton.

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

"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."

De Jong is now in the final year of his contract and his future has been the subject of speculation. Yet with just four days of the summer transfer window remaining, the Dutchman was not speaking in the manner of someone whose departure from the club might be imminent.

Manager Roberto Mancini even said last week he expects the player to stay at the Etihad Stadium.

De Jong said: "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. Liverpool are a different side when they play away than at home.

"They have still got (things) to prove but that is not my concern at the moment. My concern is we have to focus on our own squad and get those small things out to improve."

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