Roberto Mancini hailed his Manchester City side for the way they bounced back from their surprise setback against Everton with a 3-1 win at Newcastle.
City spurned the chance to be top of the Premier League at Christmas as they slumped to a 2-1 home defeat on Monday but they hit back in stunning fashion by making a blistering start at St James' Park.
Gareth Barry was gifted the opener by home keeper Tim Krul after just 74 seconds before Carlos Tevez put City 2-0 up inside five minutes.
Newcastle battled back with the aerial threat of Andy Carroll proving a constant menace, particularly for Joleon Lescott, who returned at centre-back for City in place of the suspended Kolo Toure.
Carroll gave the hosts hopes of a comeback with a 72nd-minute header but an 81st-minute strike by Tevez deflected in off Newcastle defender Fabricio Coloccini to seal a welcome victory that puts the Blues second ahead of Arsenal before their home game against Chelsea on Monday.
"I think we started the game very well, scoring two goals," Mancini told Sky Sports.
"Newcastle made it very difficult. They are a strong team and the atmosphere here is good. Also because they played maybe 200 long balls to Carroll.
"I think it's difficult for everyone to play against Carroll but I think our defenders did very well.
"I think that it's important to cope when you are under pressure and Newcastle put us under pressure from 20/25 minutes.
"But in the end, it was important that we won this game."
Tevez's two goals were his first since withdrawing his recent transfer request and with his differences with the club seemingly now resolved, there was no questioning his commitment to the City cause.
The Argentina striker led the line superbly, laying on Barry's opener as well as taking his tally to 12 goals this term, although James Milner also earned praise off the City boss after putting in a tireless stint on the right of midfield against his former club.
"He (Tevez) is important because he's our main striker and he's scored a lot of goals this season," said Mancini.
"I'm happy because he scored two important goals but I can't mention just one player today. I think all players played a fantastic game and I think James Milner, in particular, played very well."
The victory was City's sixth from 10 away games in the Premier League this season and they return to Eastlands on Tuesday to face Aston Villa.
"We must recover because we play again in 48 hours and it's not easy to do that," Mancini added. "I think there will be some changes for that game.
"Every match is a big test and we must keep improving, that's important."