Midfielder Gareth Barry said Manchester City were far from their best as they laboured to a 1-0 home win over Swansea.
The champions struggled to create chances throughout, but a wonderful Carlos Tevez strike after 61 minutes ensured they put the disappointment of their midweek Champions League defeat at Ajax behind them.
City came from behind to win at West Brom last Saturday, and Barry said the toll of playing three games in quick succession had been a factor.
"It was a massive three points. Three games in seven days is always tough,'' he told ESPN. "It wasn't a great performance, but the manager said at half-time to stay calm and we'd get a goal. Carlos came up with the goods.''
City's win was soured by a knee injury to full-back Micah Richards late in the game. There were no other players around Richards when he appeared to twist his knee as he turned to try to clear a cross to the far post.
Swansea also suffered an injury blow, with goalkeeper Michel Vorm stretchered off after he dived to try to stop Tevez's winner. Until that point, the Swans had effectively frustrated City and could have gone ahead when Michu aimed a free header straight at Joe Hart.
"To be fair to them, their game plan was good,'' Barry said. "They sat deep and made it hard for us to get the ball to our forwards."
Information from the Press Association was used in this report