Manuel Pellegrini declared himself pleased with City’s patient performance to earn all three points against Stoke.
Yaya Toure’s 69th minute strike proved to be the difference between the two teams, but the Potters proved difficult to break down and chances were at a premium throughout a tough encounter at the Etihad.
But the manager was happy with a win that sees City move back to within three points of the Premier League summit, and credited Stoke’s defensive display.
The Chilean said: “I think we didn’t create many chances because Stoke defended very well. They put the team behind the ball and in the box but we showed patience for 90 minutes.
“Finally we scored, and we also kept our concentration on set pieces and second balls to keep our clean sheet.
“The satisfaction is the same because we have three more points.
“Teams come here to defend and try to get a draw, so we cannot win by three or four goals every match. It is important to win in both ways, by scoring many goals and also to have a clean sheet and to have the patience to score at least one.”
City’s attackers have been in fine form all season, but it was a quiet afternoon for Edin Dzeko and Alvaro Negredo, who struggled to fashion many chances to extend City’s lead.
But in a season in which the Blues have found the net 100 times at record-breaking speed, the manager said he was confident that the goals would start coming again.
Pellegrini claimed: “I think it is normal during the season for strikers to lose their scoring touch. But I trust in all of them so I am sure they will recover their normal performances.
“I think that every player can have a bad day. Maybe he [Dzeko] was nervous, but I have complete trust in him. Negredo is coming through an injury so things happen sometimes in a match.”
Stevan Jovetic was forced to withdraw minutes after coming on as a substitute for Negredo, while Sergio Aguero is also recovering from a hamstring problem sustained last month.
“Jovetic felt a cramp in his hamstring,” the boss explained.
“Sergio will start working with the whole squad on Tuesday, so we will see during the week if he is ready for the match on Sunday.”