Manchester City’s Roberto Mancini told his players to keep working after a 4-1 win at Fulham that halved the gap to Premier League leader Chelsea to three points.
Carlos Tevez got two goals, with Pablo Zabaleta and Yaya Toure also scoring as City secured its fourth away league victory of the season yesterday. City had previously failed to score in home draws against Manchester United and Birmingham.
“We must continue to work and improve every game, every day, only that way can we win,” Mancini told Sky Sports. “In our minds, we must only think about working.”
City rises one spot to fourth with 25 points. First-place Chelsea and Manchester United have 28 points, with Arsenal on 26. Blackburn beat Aston Villa 2-0 to climb to 11th.
City hadn’t scored more than three times in a match this season and Fulham -- whose manager Mark Hughes was fired by City in December 2009 and replaced by Mancini -- had the third-best defense in the league before yesterday.
Tevez got the opening goal after only six minutes, firing a low shot into the corner after turning past Carlos Salcido.
Zabaleta then fired in from 20 yards in the 32nd minute, with Toure giving the visiting team a three-goal advantage three minutes later.
Tevez got his second of the game, and ninth of the season, 11 minutes after halftime. Standing immediately ahead of Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, the Argentine striker deflected a shot from his countryman Zabaleta into the net from close range.
Fulham substitute Zoltan Gera got his first league goal of the campaign midway through the second half, with a deflection off Clint Dempsey helping to beat Joe Hart.
“Especially in the first half, it was the best we’ve played,” City midfielder Gareth Barry told Sky. “It was a good chance to make an impression and move up the league.”
Fulham remains 17th after its defeat -- only out of the three-team relegation positions because it has a better goal difference than Wigan.
At Ewood Park, Morten Gamst Pedersen scored both goals for Blackburn to lift Rovers five spots in the standings, while Villa drops one place to 13th.
It was Blackburn’s first match since the 1995 Premier League champion became the first Indian-owned English soccer team. The owners of poultry company Venky’s (India) Ltd. completed their purchase last week.
“Hopefully, like every Blackburn fan, the players and myself, they will be very happy with the way we have won and the performance,” Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce told reporters.
Two days ago, Chelsea was upset 1-0 at Birmingham, Manchester United defeated Wigan 2-0, and Arsenal lost 3-2 to north London rival Tottenham.
Liverpool beat West Ham 3-0, Stoke City won 3-0 at West Bromwich Albion, Blackpool defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1, and Bolton thrashed Newcastle 5-1. Sunderland hosts Everton today.