"Nothing is missing," Vincent Kompany straight-batted in the aftermath of Manchester City's 3-1 win over QPR. The captain, who saw Carlos Tevez wrap up the three points late in the day in a game they might have ended up drawing against a team devoid of attacking ambition, made sure questions regarding his side's start to the season were treated with contempt.
After all, City have gained seven points from a possible nine in the Premier League and convincingly beat Chelsea in the Charity Shield. "What [else] are we looking for?" he asked. It was a good point. Although they have not been anywhere near their fluid best so far, Roberto Mancini has his players still chipping away and, so far, keeping them ahead of main rivals Manchester United. Two home wins and a draw away at Liverpool, who should – on paper at least – be contenders for a European place with the Brendan Rodgers effect, constitutes a solid start.
"Last year everything was flying in, if those go in the games become easier," Kompany said. "Ultimately, we give very few chances away and sometimes at this stage of the season you are unlucky to give goals away."
The assistant manager, David Platt, was slightly more philosophical when summarising the season's beginning, in which they have conceded five goals in the opening three games. He did, though, state that the club do not want to curb the ability to penetrate teams off the park with four attack-minded players, plus Yaya Touré behind them.
"We have been a little bit disappointed but that is the by-product of being a league champion. We want perfection – we've got an offensive and a defensive phase in stopping goals," Platt said. "We could ensure that we had more opportunity to keep a clean sheet but by doing that we might take something away from the team. We have to work to do better defending as a team. We have to screen in front of the back four, press high and make sure we don't give people opportunities to play."
Platt believes that the upcoming international break will help rather than hinder City, allowing fringe players to run some much-needed miles. They, as well as the glut of deadline-day signings, will be needed when the club schedule returns in a fortnight. They expect Mario Balotelli to be ready to play at Stoke City; the Italian is due to have surgery on his eye on Tuesday but will not miss the amount of time reported over the weekend.
"When they come back you will see the benefit of having the size of squad we have," Platt said. "It is three games a week until Christmas. Strategically, you have to pick the right teams physically and tactically."
There is also the small matter of a tough Champions League group to contend with. Real Madrid, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund stand in the way of progression, with the Spaniards' manager, Jose Mourinho, at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday on a scouting mission.
"We're just concentrating on our own game. If managers from other clubs want to come and watch us they can," Platt said. "It is up to them what they want to take away from it."
Kompany is just looking forward to the challenge ahead. "That's why we want to play in the Champions League," he said. "I was looking at the draw and there was no moment when I was hoping for supposedly easier teams. We've always been at our best when we've challenged ourselves."
Man City: HART 6/10; ZABALETA 7; KOMPANY 7; LESCOTT 6; KOLAROV 7; SILVA 8; Y TOURE 9; TEVEZ 8; RODWELL 7; NASRI 7; DZEKO 7
QPR: GREEN 5; FABIO 6; NELSEN 5; FERDINAND 5; BOSINGWA 5; PARK 6; FAURLIN 6; GRANERO 7; WRIGHT-PHILLIPS 6; ZAMORA 6; JOHNSON 7
Scorers: Man City Y Touré 16, Dzeko 61, Tevez 90. QPR Zamora 59. Subs: Man City K Touré (Zabaleta, 74), Milner (Silva, 81), Razak (Nasri, 89). QPR Onuoha (Ferdinand, 67), Dyer (Faurlin, 72), Cissé (Granero, 85). Booked: MC Kolarov, Rodwell. QPR Zamora. Man of match Y Touré. Match rating 7/10. Poss: MC 60%. QPR 40%. Attempts on target: MC 7. QPR 4. Ref C Foy (Merseyside). Att 45,579.
City player in fatal crash
Manchester City footballer Courtney Meppen-Walter and another man have been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving after two people died in a multi-vehicle collision in north Manchester on Saturday night.
The 32-year-old driver of a red Nissan Micra and a 37-year-old woman passenger were pronounced dead at the scene. The dead woman's two teenage sons, who were in the back of the car, have serious head injuries.
Defender Meppen-Walter, 18, has been with City since 2003 but is yet to play for the first team. He has been a regular for England Under-17s since 2010.