Belfast Telegraph

Jovetic up for title fight

Manchester City striker Stevan Jovetic is relishing the champions' title battle with Chelsea.

City pulled alongside Chelsea at the top of the Barclays Premier League with a dramatic 3-2 win over Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium on New Year's Day.

Chelsea had an eight-point advantage over City in November but the two teams now have identical records, with 46 points and the same goals for and against tallies after 20 games.

It sets up an exciting second half of the season and City's trip to Stamford Bridge on January 31 is certain to be eagerly anticipated.

Jovetic said: "I think we must do our job well to win our games, and hopefully they are going to drop points.

"We have to play against them away and I think that is going to be a nice game."

City are in such a position after surviving a Sunderland fightback.

A dull game burst into life when Yaya Toure crashed home a ferocious shot after 57 minutes and Jovetic doubled the lead nine minutes later with a neat flick.

The Black Cats responded as former City players Jack Rodwell and Adam Johnson, the latter from the penalty spot, struck in the space of three minutes but the hosts hit back again.

Frank Lampard, the day after it was confirmed he would be staying for the rest of the season, headed the winner in the 73rd minute just three minutes after coming off the bench.

Jovetic said: "It was not easy. We scored for 2-0 and then thought it was going to be easier but after that they scored one goal, then the second.

"Then I think we showed our character. We know we have big character. We scored a third goal and we had so many chances after. It was an important win."

Jovetic is the first of City's trio of injured strikers from December to return to action.

The Montenegro international was hampered by a hamstring injury and could only watch as City fielded James Milner as a makeshift centre-forward while Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko were also out.

He returned to action as a substitute in Sunday's draw against Burnley and now hopes for a run of games.

The 25-year-old said: "I feel good, that is important. It was my first game for two weeks to play from the beginning.

"I think because of that I came off for the last 20 minutes, but I feel better and every game I will get better."

Manager Manuel Pellegrini has hinted that Dzeko could be back in contention to face Everton on January 10, with Aguero possibly returning against Arsenal the following week.

Pellegrini said: "I hope in the next week Edin Dzeko will be fit and in the next week (after that) will be Kun (Aguero)."

Dzeko was injured in the warm-up prior to the win at Leicester on December 13 while Aguero, who has scored 19 times this season, suffered knee ligament damage against Everton the previous week.

Jovetic is likely to continue leading the line as City host Sky Bet Championship side Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup third round on Sunday.

He was pleased to get back on the scoresheet against Sunderland with what was a clever goal. The striker supplied Gael Clichy on the left and then burst forward to tuck in the Frenchman's cross from close range with a deft touch.

He said: "I think it was a good action. I started and then I gave the ball to Gael, and then I continued. Then the ball came I did the shot with my left foot, which is not my best foot, but I am very happy.

"It was a very nice goal."

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