London: Manchester City were never out of the title race and the Premier League champions did not need to change their style despite a frustrating to start the season, manager Manuel Pellegrini said on Tuesday.
City produced a fine attacking display to beat high-flying Southampton 3-0 at St Mary`s on Sunday, a result which lifted them above the Saints into second in the table and closed the gap on leaders Chelsea to six points.
Pellegrini`s rejuvenated side, who have won their last three matches in all competitions, travel to the Stadium of Light on Wednesday to face a Sunderland team who drew 0-0 with Jose Mourinho`s table-topping Chelsea on Saturday.
"We were never out of the fight for the title," Pellegrini told a news conference. "We have to play a lot more games and there are too many points to play for.
"I said before these three games, we weren`t playing too badly. Maybe we made some mistakes but we did not change our style and our trust."
City captain Vincent Kompany injured his hamstring against Southampton and is doubt to face Sunderland, while his centre back partner Eliaquim Mangala is suspended after being sent off against the Saints.
In the absence of Belgium international Kompany and French defender Mangala, Dedryck Boyata and Bacary Sagna could start alongside Martin Demichelis in the heart of the City defence.
"We`ll know this afternoon (Tuesday) exactly what Vincent has," said Pellegrini, who will also be without injured trio Aleksandar Kolarov, David Silva and Edin Dzeko for the trip to Sunderland.
"He has an injury to his hamstring - we`ll see how long it`ll be.
"We have Boyata working well, we have Demichelis and we have Sagna. We have options and we`ll see which two of them will play."
Having drawn 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium last season, the City boss is aware of the threat posed by Gus Poyet`s 13th-placed side.
City have failed to win in their last five trips to the Stadium of Light and have beaten Sunderland only once in their last six league meetings.
"Sunderland are a tough team to play against -- they defend well," Pellegrini said. "We hope we will have more luck there this year. They have a very good manager who knows the Premier League."