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Mancini hails top class City

villa mancini2

villa mancini2

Roberto Mancini did not hide his delight at the dazzling 4-0 display that swept aside Aston Villa and sent City to the top of the Premier League table.

A hat-trick for Mario Balotelli and a rare strike from Joleon Lescott - incredibly, City's first headed goal all season - reflected the dominance of a side that showed five changes from the Boxing Day win at Newcastle.

Even without influential skipper Carlos Tevez, who watched from the bench, the Blues had too much firepower for Villa and their first-half effort especially was one of their best 45 minutes of the campaign.

City's boss said: "It wasn't perfect, but it was a very good performance. We scored a goal very quickly and that helps. We played some good football, but I think we can still improve.

"It was difficult to play this game with the same players who had played at Newcastle. Two games in 48 hours is difficult for the same team, but all the players on the pitch this afternoon played well, they were strong.

"All the players played well this afternoon, even though some of them hadn't played for three or four games. It was important that Gareth Barry, Carlos, Jerome (Boateng) and (Aleks) Kolarov were able to rest."  

Controversial summer signing Balotelli's first City treble, including two cheeky penalties, took his tally to eight goals in eight games but his response to the general euphoria was typically muted.

Mancini smiled: "I would like to punch him sometimes! When you score three goals in the Barclays Premier League I think you should celebrate. After the first goal he did celebrate - for one second, I think! At least he smiled!

"Our supporters love Mario - they love all the players. Mario must understand this, because it is important for a player. Every day I fight against him! But he is young. He was with me at 17 years old, so I know him very well."

Super Mario was pipped by dazzling David Silva for man of the match, and the boss added: "David's award was deserved. He is a fantastic player, and I think he can improve because he is still young. He plays football very well."

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