Roberto Mancini laughs at criticism following win

Roberto Mancini has to laugh at the bizarre fact he has been branded a failure even though his team are only three points off the Premier League summit.

Even after yesterday's impressive 4-1 win at Fulham, the Manchester City boss only trails Avram Grant as the most likely top-flight boss to get the sack.

This despite being in a Champions League spot and in contention for much better from this crazy season.

But Mancini has known for quite a while he faces a tough task changing hearts and minds of those outside the club. Not that he cares.

"Last week I was a stupid manager who was six points behind. Now, I am the 'best manager' because I am only three points off the top of the league," shrugged Mancini.

"This is not important. We must continue to work and improve every game, every day. Only that way can we win.

"But if we have a big problem and a big crisis and we are only three points behind United and Chelsea, then we are doing well.

"But, in our minds, we must only think about working."

Fulham boss Mark Hughes must have been frustrated by his own team being undone by his own stellar signing as City boss.

Carlos Tevez guided the visitors in front after only five minutes and then wrapped up their scoring early in the second-half, after Pablo Zabaleta and Yaya Toure had struck in a three-minute golden spell just before the break.

Zoltan Gera did pull one back for the hosts but Hughes acknowledged the better team were triumphant.

And he has no doubt that with a little more attacking intent on home soil, City can pose a serious title threat this term.

"If they have belief and there's forward-thinking, and maybe they can be more attack-minded - as they were - on more occasions, there is no reason why they shouldn't be contenders," said Hughes.

"They were excellent.

"We were complicit in that with the time we let them have. But they've got as good a chance as anybody."

In front of Diego Maradona, City were rampant, the only downside being the booking for Zabaleta that means he will be suspended for Saturday's trip to Stoke.

"I saw Maradona before the game," said Mancini.

"I was very happy because I saw him in good form. He is a good man.

"For the game, we played fantastic football. I must thank my players for that."