Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini praised his side's response to a "very difficult week" after they beat Hull City to rekindle their English Premier League title challenge. City exited the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League earlier this week after defeats by Wigan Athletic and Barcelona, but goals from David Silva and Edin Dzeko earned them a 2-0 win at Hull on Saturday.
The victory came despite the tenth-minute dismissal of captain Vincent Kompany and left Pellegrini's side six points shy of Chelsea with three games in hand, after Jose Mourinho's men crashed to a 1-0 loss at Aston Villa.
"It was a very good response from the team after a very difficult week," Pellegrini said. "Playing with one player less for 80 minutes, it was a very important response from the team. Of course, it's more difficult to play with ten players, but I trust in the team and the players and I think we did very well with and without the ball."
Chelsea manager Mourinho has repeatedly insisted that City have the advantage in the title race, but speaking before the London club's defeat at Villa, Pellegrini took a diplomatic line on his team's chances.
"We are not sending out messages to anyone, to Chelsea or any other team," he said. "It was a chance to come back to the Premier League after three weeks and win a game. It was important to us to return to the Premier League by winning the game, and we did it."
Spanish midfielder Silva scored a stunning opener in the 14th minute and then set up a late Edin Dzeko strike after City had weathered a second-half battering from Steve Bruce's Hull. Nikica Jelavic missed two good chances to equalise for Hull, while Fernandino and Dzeko were guilty of wasting opportunities for the visitors before the Bosnian's 90th-minute goal from Silva's pass secured the points.
Argentine centre-back Martin Demichelis received criticism for making costly errors in the defeats against Barcelona and Wigan, but he stood out in an impressive defensive display at Hull.
"Demichelis today (Saturday) played very well, and the whole season he played very well," said Pellegrini. "Maybe against Wigan he conceded one penalty that was unnecessary. Against Barcelona, it was a very difficult ball (to deal with). I don't agree with the criticism of Demichelis. I'm very pleased with his performances."