MANCHESTER, England (AFP) - Nigel de Jong has warned Manchester City there should be no dip in performance when FC Timisoara visit Eastlands in the Europa League on Thursday.
Big-spending City showed they are serious contenders for the English Premier League title after a highly impressive 3-0 victory over Liverpool on Monday.
De Jong hopes that result has set the tone for the rest of the season and the Netherlands midfielder wants City to reach those levels against Euro minnows Timisoara, even though manager Roberto Mancini is expected to make several changes.
A 1-0 victory in Romania last week courtesy of Mario Balotelli's goal on his debut means City are hot favourites to advance into Friday's draw for the group stages of the Europa League.
However, World Cup finalist de Jong does not want to spoil the good work against five-times European champions Liverpool by turning in a sub-standard performance against Timisoara in the deciding leg of the play-off.
"Monday's performance was one that should set the tone for the season," said de Jong.
"It is not often that anyone beats Liverpool 3-0. I think you could tell we were all so determined," said de Jong.
"We want to win this league. That?s the ambition but to do that we have to hit these standards every week.
"There are lots of things to be positive about, but we must not get carried away with one result."
City have attracted plenty of global attention for the amount of money they have invested in new players since finishing fifth in the Premier League last season.
Mancini has spent around 130 million pouinds to bring in Balotelli, David Silva, Yaya Toure, James Milner, Jerome Boateng and Aleksandar Kolarov.
And former Ajax and Hamburg player de Jong believes their arrival has left everyone on their toes as well as enhancing team spirit at the club.
"There is no doubt that the intensity has upped in training with the arrival of the new players. Everyone is working and fighting for each other," added de Jong. "There are lots of positive things in this team.
"You have to raise your game when players like we have signed come in the group."
Balotelli missed the Liverpool victory with a knee injury and although he will not feature against Timisoara, the former Inter Milan striker is set to return for Sunday's game at Sunderland.
Silva, Patrick Vieira and Shaun Wright-Phillips, all unused substitutes against Liverpool, are expected to start on Thursday along with forward Emmanuel Adebayor.
Brazilian striker Jo may also get a rare start.
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|Coach: R. Mancini|
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