Platt says City have firepower to bounce back

Manchester City assistant boss David Platt is confident the champions still have the firepower to recover lost ground in the title race.

City have fallen seven points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United after suffering a shock loss at Sunderland on St Stephen’s Day.

The lack of goals from strikers has been one of the factors for City’s so far below-par challenge but — having overhauled an eight-point deficit with six games remaining last term — the club expect to come good.

Platt, first-team coach at the Etihad Stadium, said: “Seven points is a significant amount.

“United are in the driving seat but there is half a season to go. I don’t think it is insurmountable by any stretch of the imagination.

“It’s not as though we are playing badly. We feel as though we are playing well, we are producing efforts on target.

“We are dominating possession and every statistic in most games, except goals.”

Manager Roberto Mancini has bemoaned his forwards’ output in recent weeks and even said they were “maybe too soft” after the loss at the Stadium of Light.

Platt, addressing media on Mancini’s behalf ahead of the trip to Norwich, attempted to clarify those remarks.

Platt claims the Italian was referring to a failure to take chances rather than suggesting his highly-rated front men are lightweight.

Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez have scored just one goal each in their last eight appearances in all competitions, Mario Balotelli one in 10 and Edin Dzeko one in 13.

Samir Nasri could return from a hamstring injury as City look to get back to winning ways at Carrow Road. Defender Gael Clichy could also be back in contention but Balotelli, who has missed the last three games, remains a doubt.

Platt was unwilling to discuss Mancini’s comments about referee Kevin Friend from after the Sunderland game.

Mancini was frustrated City were not awarded a free-kick for a foul on Pablo Zabaleta in the build-up to Adam Johnson’s goal.

“The referee ate too much for Christmas,” Mancini joked afterwards.

The Football Association has written to Mancini for an explanation, something which has caused controversy after no action was taken against United boss Alex Ferguson for an outburst on the same day.

Platt said: “We can’t really comment. Whatever happens, we will deal with our own stuff.” Platt also played down speculation City could strengthen their squad in the transfer window. He said: “The kind of players you would want to improve a squad like Manchester City are invariably already playing for the top teams.”

Chris Hughton has guided the Canaries to 25 points at the half-way stage of the season and admits the recent fixture list has not been kind to the club.

“We have managed to get a fair few points leading up to this Christmas period and have been right in it in both of these games.

“What I’m pleased with is that we had a tough game at West Brom, a side that are doing really well, and the quality of Chelsea and we have made them really tight games. Although we have lost both games we lost them by the odd goal and in both games we could have got more.”


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