David Moyes: Manchester City can be exposed at the back
David Moyes believes Sunderland can take advantage of Manchester City's defensive frailties when they continue their quest for Premier League survival on Sunday.
City's rearguard has come under intense scrutiny this season as new manager Pep Guardiola attempts to strike a balance between offensive potency and solidity at the back.
Black Cats boss Moyes was among the crowd as Guardiola's men ran out 5-3 winners against Monaco in the Champions League last week, and also saw them concede first to a much-changed Huddersfield side before securing a 5-1 victory in Wednesday's FA Cup fifth round replay.
"Manchester City are a good team, as everybody is well aware," Moyes said. "Can you cause them some problems defensively? Yes. The big thing is getting enough of the ball.
"We have to try to get enough of the ball and get ourselves in the right positions to see if we can cause them some problems."
Moyes' men begin the weekend bottom of the table, three points from safety having suffered successive defeats since the 4-0 victory at fellow strugglers Crystal Palace a month ago.
Utility man Jason Denayer will sit out against parent club, although central defender Papy Djilobodji returns to contention after serving a four-match ban.
Goalkeeper Vito Mannone has recovered from illness and Billy Jones is available after having stitches in a head wound, but Jack Rodwell (hamstring) is being assessed and the game will come too soon for midfielders Jan Kirchhoff (knee) and Steven Pienaar (calf). Paddy McNair, Duncan Watmore, Victor Anichebe (all knee) and Lee Cattermole (hip) are still out.
City boss Guardiola says he is ignoring the table ahead of his side's trip to the Stadium of Light.
The Wearsiders are in serious relegation danger after winning just one of their last nine league games but Guardiola, whose side are in the thick of a tight battle for a top four place, is warning against complacency.
"Never, never, never when I see a team or analyse a team, do I see the table," he said. "Never. It doesn't matter the position they are.
"I know they will be more physical and pay more attention because of their situation. Sunderland's situation is not easy.
"The people can think we should win but Liverpool and Tottenham also should have won there and were not able to. Every game will be so difficult and so complicated, and it will be on Sunday.
"I think that the five or six teams that are on top of the league, everybody expects that they are going to win the games but football shows us here, in Barcelona, Germany, in my experience, everything can happen."
Victory for City would cut the gap to leaders Chelsea to eight points but Guardiola is not thinking about a title charge.
He added: "I am talking about my team, thinking about the next game, step by step, focused on what we have to do in the next game. Thinking about far away would be a big mistake on our side - big mistake."
City captain Vincent Kompany is back in contention after three games out with a leg injury, while fellow defender Aleksandar Kolarov is also fit again after a hamstring injury.
Striker Gabriel Jesus (foot) and midfielder Ilkay Gundogan (knee) are both long-term casualties.