Manuel Pellegrini was delighted with Manchester City's "complete" display as they demolished Fulham 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with the Chilean reserving special praise for hat trick hero Yaya Toure.
• Mooney: Yaya stars for City
The Ivory Coast international scored two penalties and a fine third as the Cottagers collapsed following the dismissal of Fernando Amorebieta in the 53rd minute, with Felix Magath's side conceding four second-half goals as City ran riot.
The win puts Pellegrini's team six points behind league leaders Chelsea with three games in hand over Jose Mourinho's men, and the City boss expressed his pleasure at his side's efficiency ahead of the Manchester derby on Tuesday.
"It was a complete performance because again we kept a clean sheet and that's very important," the 60-year old told his postmatch news conference.
"In the last part of the season, we must be a very balanced team, not only scoring five goals but keeping it tight also.
"We made some changes towards the end of the game, thinking about what we must do on Tuesday against Manchester United but before the match we were only thinking about this one.
"We had to be professional as Fulham defend very well usually, so when they score one goal it's very difficult to get back into the game.
"It was more difficult for Fulham with ten players but before the player was sent off, we had scored a goal and were looking good."
Pellegrini hailed Toure's goalscoring exploits as he netted his 51st goal for City, and the manager believes the marauding midfielder must be given the freedom to attack for the club to reap the full benefits of his talents.
"At the beginning of the season, Yaya received criticism for not defending well," Pellegrini continued.
"For me, it would be easy to let him defend and not get forward but then we would lose something from our attack.
"I don't think it's easy for a midfielder to score 20 goals, it's a great achievement.
"We don't just depend on one striker -- if the strikers don't score, we have other players who can do it -- that's important."
And despite Arsenal's 6-0 drubbing at Chelsea leaving the Gunners seven points adrift in the title race, Pellegrini still insists Arsene Wenger's side are very much contenders.
"I don't think it's just between City and Chelsea -- we must see what Liverpool are doing every week," he added
"Maybe Arsenal had a bad game today but they're still only seven points behind Chelsea -- I think all four teams have the same chance to win the title.
"There's a lot of points left to decide the title for all of the teams. Maybe in the last month we are not scoring so many goals, but we were always creating chances. I hope we continue.
"Winning is always a good preparation for the next match. The derby is a special match so tomorrow we must try to forget about today and start thinking about Old Trafford."
Fulham boss Magath, meanwhile, believes his side threw in the towel after Amorebieta's red card, and insists his bottom-placed side must keep battling in every game if they are to survive their relegation battle.
"Until the first penalty, I think we did quite well," Magath said. "We looked forward to coming here after our win last weekend but that penalty was not a decision that we could manage.
"We lost confidence and so after the second penalty, we didn't play anymore. Nobody expected us to win here at Man City, so it's normal that we lost, nobody will care about it.
"But I'm not happy with our performance after the second goal, because, sure it was a bad moment for us to lose a player, but that's no reason to stop playing. We have to play 90 minutes with 10 or 11 players, it doesn't matter."