Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong has warned his side they must shore up their leaky defence before they can think about mounting a sustained bid to retain the Premier League title.
City needed a late Carlos Tevez equaliser to rescue a 2-2 draw at Liverpool on Sunday after Roberto Mancini's side allowed the hosts to take the lead twice.
It was the third successive match this season that City have conceded two goals after their 3-2 wins over Chelsea in the Community Shield and Southampton on the opening day of the league campaign.
They also conceded twice before coming from behind to beat QPR, and win the title in the process, on the final day of last season and Netherlands international de Jong knows that kind of porous defensive record will prove eventually fatal unless it is rectified.
"I don't know what it is. It is a bad habit," de Jong told City TV.
"We picked that up from the last game of the season against QPR and have continued that in these first two games of the new season.
"We have to improve and show that we are up for the test wherever we go, away or at home.
"We have a lot of qualities in the squad but we just have to improve.
"It is not going to be an easy season. Wherever you go everyone wants to beat the champions. We have to stand tall with each other and improve."