De Jong: City have title quality

Nigel de Jong has challenged Manchester City to back up Monday night’s win over Liverpool and show they are genuine title contenders.

The big-spending Blues sent an early warning to their Premier League rivals by brushing aside the Reds 3-0 at Eastlands without even hitting top gear.

Debutant James Milner made the opening goal for Gareth Barry and the ex-Aston Villa pair shone alongside De Jong, Yaya Toure and Adam Johnson in an impressive five-man midfield.

Lone striker Carlos Tevez then claimed a second-half double to seal City’s first league win of the season after holding Tottenham to a 0-0 draw on the opening day.

"As a midfield, I thought we played well as a unit," De Jong told the club’s official website.

"James Milner had a fine debut, Gareth Barry scored a good goal, and Yaya and I did what we do.

"I think anyone would agree we have enough quality in our whole team to be challenging. Now what we have to show is that we have the mentality too.

"We want to win this league – that’s the ambition – but to do that we have to hit these standards every week."

City just missed out on Champions League qualification last season as they finished fifth.

A top-four finish is seen as a must this term after the Blues made another six big signings this summer and De Jong believes the extra competition for places is bringing the best out of the City squad.

"There is no doubt that the intensity has upped in training with the arrival of the new players," added the Dutch midfielder. "Everyone is working and fighting for each other.

"You have to raise your game when players like we have signed come into the group but it is not just them, it is younger ones pushing from underneath too. There are lots of things to be positive about but we must not get carried away with one result.

"What this win has done is make sure we have made a positive start, just like United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs."