Roberto Mancini was delighted to see Manchester City finally play like Premier League champions against Sunderland this afternoon.
It has been a stop-start campaign for the Blues – out of the Capital One Cup, struggling in the Champions League and stuttering somewhat in the Premier League.
But today they played like the team that finished top of the pile last season and, had they been a little luckier this afternoon, they could have inflicted a defeat of embarrassing proportions on the Wearsiders.
As it was, they were comfortable 3-0 winners and Mancini agreed afterwards: “We played very well and I’m very happy about it.
“We caused Sunderland a lot of problems, but it was not an easy game because Sunderland showed good spirit and kept on trying to come at us.”
City made five changes to the side which overcame Fulham last week and the Italian acknowledged the importance of giving game time to his squad of stellar names.
“We brought players back into the team and they played very well,” said the Italian. “I would not like to single anyone out because I was very happy with them all.
“It’s impossible to play them all in anyone game, but it’s great to have them in reserve to come in and important that the squad is rotated so that important players keep getting games.
“You look at being able to bring on someone like Sergio Aguero as substitute and that’s a great position to be in today – he was brilliant from the moment he got on the pitch.”
* More reaction in tonight’s Football Echo