Poyet praises Sunderland players' mentality
The Wearside club have beaten City 1-0 in each of their last four home fixtures against the defending champions and approach the contest having held league leaders Chelsea to a 0-0 draw on Saturday.
Poyet feels that Sunderland's refusal to accept their limitations against the top sides has been key to his team's performances versus the Premier League's front runners.
"There is a mentality sometimes that when you play against the top teams, before you start the game you accept that if you lose nothing will happen," Poyet said.
"I don't think that's right - I don't think you are playing to the maximum if you accept that before the game. I think you have to be clear that it is going to be more difficult, but you will have a chance.
"On those terms the players have been exceptional because we stayed up last year because of that, and we showed last Saturday we can do it and we can try to stop the other teams doing what they like."
With the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool some way off the pace, the title race looks set to be a two-way battle between Chelsea and second-placed City.
And Poyet has been more impressed with the performances of the London club, who have yet to suffer defeat in the league this term.
He added: "I think Chelsea right now look stronger in every aspect of their game but it's a long season and when you play in so many competitions it becomes very difficult to stay in all of them.
"They have got quality everywhere - they are one of the top clubs in the world and we have got to deal with that. But that's why we fought so hard last year to be here."