Platt: Still time to catch United

Manchester City assistant boss David Platt is confident the champions still have the firepower to recover lost ground in the title race.

City have fallen seven points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United after suffering a shock loss at Sunderland on Boxing Day.

The lack of goals from strikers has been one of the factors for City's so far below-par challenge but - having overhauled an eight-point deficit with six games remaining last term - the club expect to come good.

Platt, first-team coach at the Etihad Stadium, said: "Seven points is a significant amount, there's no doubt about it.

"United are in the driving seat but there is half a season to go.

"I don't think it is insurmountable by any stretch of the imagination.

"It's not as though we are playing badly. We feel as though we are playing well, we are producing efforts on target.

"We are dominating possession and every statistic in most games, except goals."

Manager Roberto Mancini has bemoaned his forwards' output in recent weeks and even said they were "maybe too soft" after the loss at the Stadium of Light.

Platt, addressing media on Mancini's behalf to preview this weekend's trip to Norwich, attempted to clarify those remarks.

Platt claims the Italian was referring to a failure to take chances rather than suggesting his highly-rated front men are lightweight.

Nevertheless, the latest statistics are not flattering. After 19 games last season City had scored 53 goals and were top of the table, but at the halfway point this term they have managed just 34.

Platt said: "I don't think he means soft - sometimes it can be lost in translation.

"In the last few games we have produced enough efforts on goal but if you correlate the statistics we should be scoring more goals.

"These things have a habit of balancing out over the season.

"Goalscorers, at the end of the season, usually have the same quota that they had (in previous years)."

Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez have scored just one goal each in their last eight appearances in all competitions, Mario Balotelli one in 10 and Edin Dzeko one in 13.

Platt said: "I think if you asked them they would be disappointed but goalscorers go through barren spells.

"It is just unfortunate that at the moment all of them seem to be having one at the same time.

"It's not just them. Compared to the number of goals we scored last season we are significantly down but that is all around the pitch.

"We have got to produce better chances and we have to put them away."

Forward Samir Nasri could return from a hamstring injury as City look to get back to winning ways at Carrow Road. Defender Gael Clichy could also be back in contention but Balotelli, who has missed the last three games, remains a doubt.

"Mario is still feeling the effects of the virus," Platt said.

City won 6-1 at Norwich in April but the Canaries have beaten Arsenal, Tottenham and United at home in recent months.

Platt said: "We want to bounce straight back and go down there and produce a performance like we did at Sunderland but this time get the goals that our performance deserves.

"They will make it very difficult. They defend as a group, they are very compact, they don't give a great deal away and then they have got players who can hit you on the break."

Platt was unwilling to discuss Mancini's comments about referee Kevin Friend from after the Sunderland game.

Mancini was frustrated City were not awarded a free-kick for a foul on Pablo Zabaleta in the build-up to Adam Johnson's winning goal.

"The referee ate too much for Christmas," Mancini joked afterwards.

The Football Association has written to Mancini for an explanation, something which has caused controversy after no action was taken against United boss Sir Alex Ferguson for an outburst on the same day.

Platt said: "I have only picked up the paper this morning and I haven't seen the incident over at Old Trafford, I didn't see Robbie's interview.

"They are just suggestions at this moment in time. We can't really comment. Whatever happens, we will deal with our own stuff.

"There's no real concern about what's happening elsewhere."

Platt also played down speculation City could strengthen their squad during next month's transfer window.

He said: "The kind of players you would want to improve a squad like Manchester City are invariably already playing for the top teams that are involved in chasing honours.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't do any business."