Carlos Tevez took his tally to nine league goals this season
By Sam Sheringham
Manchester City produced one of their most impressive performances of the season to sweep aside Fulham and return to the Premier League's top four.
Carlos Tevez opened the scoring with a crisp finish on a miserable afternoon for former City boss Mark Hughes.
Pablo Zabaleta smashed home from the edge of the area and Yaya Toure rounded off a fine team move to make it 3-0.
Tevez deflected Zabaleta's drive past Mark Schwarzer before Zoltan Gera crashed in a consolation goal.
Whether it was the presence of Diego Maradona in the crowd, or Kolo Toure's call for certain players to justify their high wages, that encouraged City to throw off the shackles, Mancini's men played with a fluency and coherence rarely seen this season.
And after defeats for Chelsea and Arsenal on Saturday, it was a timely reminder that City cannot be counted out of what is turning into one of the most open title races in years.
Maradona, a guest of Fulham, saw two fellow Argentines score for Man City
The win took them up to fourth in the table, only three points behind leaders Chelsea and Manchester United.
After successive 0-0 draws in the previous two games, Mancini had addressed his team's lack of goals by handing Brazilian striker Jo his first start for the club in more than two years.
The full-back fired an early shot from the edge of the area but a well-positioned Schwarzer palmed the ball around the post.
There was a crispness and purpose to City's passing and it was little surprise when the second goal arrived.
A low cross from Silva was only half cleared by Damien Duff and Zabaleta unleashed an unstoppable drive from 25 yards, which clipped Duff's heel en route to the top corner.
With their jubilant travelling fans singing Mancini's name, City soon crafted a fine third goal, with the ball worked quickly from left to right by Silva and Jo before Tevez teed up Yaya Toure for a powerful drive into the bottom corner.
Hughes brought on Zoltan Gera for Duff at half-time and Fulham began the second half on the offensive, with Clint Dempsey lashing wide from the edge of the box.
Hughes laments Fulham's 'difficult day'
But City hit back and while Tevez wasted a chance to make it 4-0 when he shot straight at Schwarzer, his disappointment was short-lived as another powerful drive from Zabaleta struck the Argentine's foot and looped over the Fulham goalkeeper.
Fulham, to their credit, never gave up and their effort was rewarded with a goal after 69 minutes.
Jo's clearing header from a corner found Gera, whose shot struck Kolo Toure's foot on the way into the net.
But it was too little, too late for Fulham, who look destined for a long and difficult season.
With only two wins in 14 games, Hughes' team are only being kept out of the relegation zone on goal difference.
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