Manchester City boss Mark Hughes has demanded more workrate and effort from his superstars at Eastlands as they look to get back to winning ways against Sunderland on Saturday.
City failed to build on their morale-boosting Barclays Premier League victory over Chelsea at the start of the month and dropped points at Bolton before losing at Tottenham in midweek, with Robinho and Emmanuel Adebayor among the players to disappoint at White Hart Lane.
"There is a minimum requirement in terms of workrate and effort and (against Spurs) we didn't have a platform to be able to get into people's faces and close people down," Hughes said.
"We don't profess to be the finished article and that was shown. We have to pick ourselves up. We've got a big game at the weekend and it's important we get back on track."
Nigel de Jong is suspended for the Sunderland game, while Nedum Onuoha could remain in defence as Joleon Lescott requires knee surgery that will rule him out for up to two months.
Hughes was not planning on bringing players in during January but with Lescott injured and fellow centre-back Kolo Toure going to the African Nations Cup, he admitted: "We will see what's out there."
Lescott's injury also brings into focus the decision to sell Richard Dunne, who has played a key role in Aston Villa establishing themselves as top-four candidates.
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