Vincent Kompany has saluted new manager Roberto Mancini for making an immediate impact on City's campaign to make the vital breakthrough into the elite top four.
The former Inter Milan boss, who won three Serie A titles in a row, has injected an Italian approach into training that meets with fit-again Belgium star Kompany's approval.
And Kompany, who has stepped back into defence to help solve Mancini's injury crisis, was also fully behind the manager's decision to keep the squad together for Christmas Day.
The Blues trained and ate together before spending the night at a hotel retreat prior to the 2-0 home win over Stoke that marked Mancini's first game in charge after succeeding Mark Hughes.
Vince said: "We didn't have a traditional Christmas dinner, just the usual food and no desserts. The most important thing for us was to win the next day. Losing on Boxing Day was not an option.
"Results can be different on Boxing Day, you see big teams being beaten. It's tempting - the day with the family, a bit more food. It can go wrong. We didn't allow anything to get in the way of that win."
City followed up with that 3-0 win at Wolves and another clean sheet at Middlesbrough to negotiate a potentially-tricky passage into the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Kompany said: "In the short period that we've been able to work with him, I think the most important thing is that he's been able to put over his ideas to the team quite quickly.
Most times, a new coach will need a certain period to adapt, but it has seemed to go well. We seem to be playing the way that he wants, and we've tuned into his football philosophy
"It's not an emphasis on defence. I believe that he pays a lot of attention to details, and he makes it clear what he wants. Everybody on that pitch knows exactly what he has to do.
"We do a lot of drills and work on tactical situations every day. There's a lot of emphasis on tactics and intelligent football, before power and pace.
"He's got his own approach to the job, but drills are quite usual with a lot of Continental teams, though maybe it's something new for some of the English players.
"You have to use your brain, it's not just about enjoying your football. It demands concentration as well. I enjoy it because I'm a big supporter of the tactical approach. I'm a believer."
As for a top-four spot Vince adds: "I smile at the critics, because if we win our game in hand, which is at home, we'll be up there. It's in our hands, and I don't see why any of the other teams should have a better chance."