Edin Dzeko called Queens Park Rangers the "best team we have played this season" after Manchester City battled to a 3-2 win at Loftus Road to restore their five-point advantage at the top of the table.
Dzeko talks to ESPN
Jay Bothroyd headed QPR in front in the first half - the first time City have trailed this season - and after goals from Dzeko and David Silva turned things around, Heidar Helguson brought the hosts level.
Yaya Toure headed in the winner, but City had to hang on for a nervous final ten minutes.
"It was very tough but at the end we can be happy," Dzeko said on ESPN. "I must say, they are the best team we have played against this season and I want to pay compliments to Queens Park Rangers.
"I was very surprised at how they played, how good they were, especially in the first half, and then again in the second half as well after we scored the third goal. We can be very happy to win."
City will now be looking forward to returning home, having been away from Manchester since travelling to Spain for Wednesday's Champions League win over Villarreal.
Manager Roberto Mancini was delighted to take the points from a tough encounter.
"When you play every three days, it is impossible, every game can be hard. QPR played very well but in the end it was important that we won.
"We had some problems with Samir (Nasri) before the game - his knee - and we can't take any more risks with him after so many games so it is better we did not need him because his knee is not good.
"It was hard in the second half, even though we played better and scored to make it 2-1. We had three or four chances to close the game, but when you don't close the game you take a risk because anything can happen."
Silva's goal was the highlight of an often disjointed City performance, with the Spanish playmaker taking one touch to escape three defenders before firing home from close range.
"David for me is one of the best players in the world," Mancini said. "But not only him, all the other players - Yaya, Edin, for sure.
"It was really important to win. In the last two weeks we have played six games, which is very, very hard, we have won always and it is very important to go into the international break with the five-point gap."
QPR boss Neil Warnock was hugely disappointed by the loss.
"It is a diabolical result," he said. "Football can be a cruel game sometimes. You do not get what you deserve. We have made three errors in 90 minutes against a side I would regard as the best in the world, and got punished every time.
"The performance probably surprised a few people, but I think we can get even better. I guess you have to take it on the chin. It is results like that that make them champions elect."