Man City v Sunderland reaction
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini was full of praise for his side following the 3-0 Premier League victory over Sunderland at the Etihad.
Aleksandar Kolarov, Sergio Aguero and James Milner all found the target for City and, after a less than impressive performance mid-week against Borussia Dortmund, a comfortable win was the perfect fillip for the champions.
"It was a very good performance," he told Sky Sports 2. "We played very well and took no risks.
"To score three goals I am happy for us today. It was not easy, Sunderland are a good team and it was a very difficult game. All players who played today played very well.
"Victory is important before the international break and in the last two (league games) we play really well and we are improving."
It was City's first clean sheet of the season and centre half Joleon Lescott is hopeful it will be the catalyst for better performances.
"We are disappointed defensively this season but we are happy with the clean sheet," he said.
"We are looking strong now and since we have come back off the international break we have been playing well."
Assistant boss David Platt felt City had produced an emphatic response to their recent difficulties.
He said: "We needed the second goal to settle us down.
"At 1-0 there is always a risk, even though we controlled the game.
"In the second half we started to play with a lot of confidence and freedom.
"Games go for us and against us and whenever on the back of a bad result, we always get a reaction from top players and that's what we got.
"We are not stuttering as much as people make out. We have set ourselves in a decent position, we are there or thereabouts.
"If you do a parallel with our first seven games of last season, in terms of goals conceded and points that puts us better off."
City now have 15 points seven games into their title defence and remain unbeaten.
The result also brought up the welcome statistic of a first clean sheet of the season for the in-form but often exposed Joe Hart.
Platt said: "I'm delighted for the team and for Joe - we kept a clean sheet last week in our eyes because it was never a penalty."
Despite the manner of the performance, there was one negative point as Mario Balotelli headed straight down the tunnel after being substituted, but Platt shrugged when asked.
Kolarov opened the scoring with a superb free-kick after five minutes but it was not until the hour that substitute Aguero doubled the advantage.
Milner put a more realistic sheen on the scoreline when he curled in a free-kick after 89 minutes.
Kolarov and Balotelli had both wanted to take the free-kick from which the opener came.
Kolarov told Sky Sports: "I had a normal conversation with Mario about the free-kick and whether it was in a good position for me to take it or Mario.
"It was a good position for me to hit it with my left foot, I knew what I was going to do with it."
City rediscovered their defensive solidity without captain Vincent Kompany, who was ruled out with a calf injury, while Micah Richards made a surprise return in his place.
The Belgian tweeted: "Injury isn't too bad but I was carrying it since the last game. Will have to try and get fit for internationals!"
Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill was pragmatic as his side lost for the first time in the Premier League this season.
"They are a very fine side," he said. "Initially we didn't help matters couldn't keep the ball too well, but we were beaten by a much better side.
"I thought we should have done better in the first half period. We had opportunities, but we gave ball away to easily, having said that at half-time we were still in the game but we were well beaten in the second half.
"While the game was still 1-0 we were still with a chance but the more you press forward the more gaps you leave and they are more equipped than anyone to deal with that."