Kolo Toure says a weight has been lifted following the 2-0 win over West Brom which put the Blues level on points with third-placed Arsenal.
After an intense fortnight spent in the media spotlight, Toure says the players can now focus on the Manchester derby having dispatched the Baggies in such a comprehensive manner.
“It was really important we beat West Brom because it’s very difficult for a team with aspirations of challenging at the top to lose three games in a row,” he said.
“This win has made us very happy and put us in the perfect frame of mind ahead of Wednesday’s derby.
“We deserved to win because we started the game really well and were passing the ball round nicely. We controlled most of the match and scored goals at important times.”
Toure says he is also happy for Mario Balotelli, who showed glimpses of genius during the Hawthorns triumph.
“I’m pleased for Mario that he has scored two goals today, but obviously the sending off made things harder for us, but we were strong and after we dealt with their spell of pressure, the game was as good as over.
Mario is a top striker and he is still very young. He will learn about the Premier League quickly and I think he is a player who can be really important for us
“He needs to learn that the tackles are hard and the referees more lenient, but he will get used to it and love it as much as we all do. What happened to him could happen to any player and as I say, he will learn from it.
“It’s been a good weekend for us with so many teams around us dropping points but the season is really long and now we have to focus on our next game.
“The derby is a massive game for us and it will be really hard because they are a very strong team, but we will go out to win the match and enjoy it.”