| 2.2°C Belfast

Milner's delight at resurgent Manchester City

Midfielder James Milner believes Manchester City have got their title challenge back on track by learning lessons from their disappointing Christmas results.

City's previously strong grip on top spot in the Barclays Premier League was loosened as they were held at West Brom and beaten at Sunderland over the holiday period.

But Roberto Mancini's men put those frustrations behind them on their return to the Etihad Stadium, where they are unbeaten since December 2010, as they comfortably saw off Liverpool 3-0 on Tuesday night. Milner, scorer of the third goal, said: “It was an important game for us.

“We had a couple of disappointing results over the Christmas period. We know it is a critical time over any season and (we needed) to get the momentum back.

“We set our standards very high and the first half was not good enough the other day. We probably still did enough in the second half to win it but it is a learning curve.

“We need to make sure we learn from those sort of experiences and I think it shows how much character and ability there is in the dressing room that we can come back 48 hours later.”

City had been expected to win comfortably at The Hawthorns but were frustrated as a well-organised West Brom side defended deeply and claimed a goalless draw. The Sunderland game was heading for a similar outcome until the Black Cats broke away in injury-time to snatch a winner through Ji Dong-won. Milner, who turned 26 yesterday, said: “The manager was obviously very disappointed with us but no more so than we were as individuals and as a team.

“We didn't quite have the luck over the last two games but last night it was good to get off to a good start.”

City had to play out the closing 17 minutes against Liverpool with 10 men after Gareth Barry was sent off. Milner said: “Liverpool have got quality all over the field and it was always going to be tough. To win the game like we did, and pretty convincingly as well, down to 10 men, was good.”

Belfast Telegraph