It is perhaps ironic given the dramatic changes in personnel at QPR that some of the focus ahead of Saturday's game should be on one simple tactical change Mancini has made.
The Italian has received some mild criticism in the opening weeks of the season for switching to a back-three but the return to last season's system did not bring a clean sheet against the Hoops.
Bobby Zamora found an equaliser to cancel out Yaya Toure's first-half goal and although Edin Dzeko soon restored the lead the game was in the balance until Carlos Tevez netted in stoppage time.
Mancini reinstated David Silva and Joleon Lescott to the starting line-up. Silva has been handled delicately so far this season after yet another busy summer but he was back in his familiar role here. Lescott also came in for Kolo Toure as the City boss abandoned - for now - his reshaped defence. James Milner missed out, while Dzeko was preferred to Mario Balotelli. Jack Rodwell came in for the departed Nigel de Jong in midfield.
Mark Hughes made six changes to the QPR team that drew at Norwich last time out with Esteban Granero given a debut. Jose Bosingwa and Ryan Nelsen came in to add experience to the defence, while Andy Johnson was preferred to Djibril Cisse in attack. There were three changes in the middle with Granero being joined by Shaun-Wright Phillips and Alejandro Faurlin who was returning from long-term injury. There could well have been a seventh change but Julio Cesar was unavailable to replace Robert Green in goal.
Mancini returned to his trusted back-four after conceding two goals against both Southampton and Liverpool in the opening two games of the Premier League season. In some ways it was a curious decision given that playing three at the back is better suited to playing against a 4-4-2 system where there are two men to mark and a man free, rather than the one striker Liverpool had played. But the switch allowed for the introduction of Silva as an extra playmaker and also gave Pablo Zabaleta the opportunity to raid down the right.
Hughes' team is in a state of transition and picking his line-up for this one must have been tricky. With little time to establish an intricate system, he set his players out in a fairly basic 4-4-2 with Park playing as a left-midfielder and Wright-Phillips on the right. Zamora and Johnson are at least used to playing together at Fulham and they combined for the goal. Whether this will be the way to get the best out of his vast squad of players once Stephane Mbia is available remains to be seen.
Kolo Toure was a like-for-like switch when introduced for Zabaleta but the withdrawal of Silva was more interesting. James Milner came on with 10 minutes to go and could have been used centrally in an attempt to provide more energy in midfield. As it was he was involved in an advanced role on the right and had several good opportunities to kill the game but was wasteful. The late switch that brought on Abdul Razak for Samir Nasri was chiefly a time-wasting measure.
Hughes was forced into making the first change of the game when Anton Ferdinand was injured in a clash with Aleksandr Kolarov and that gave Nedum Onuoha a run-out against his former club. The introduction of Kieron Dyer for Faurlin was a positive move and probably a necessary switch given the Argentine's lengthy lay-off. It's ultra-critical but Hughes' final change - bringing on Cisse for Granero - was counter-productive as the new signing from Real Madrid was enjoying plenty of space in the latter stages.
QPR were unimpressed by two robust challenges from Kolarov that felled Ferdinand and Onuoha. With the Serbian already on a booking it would have been interesting if the howls of the Loftus Road crowd had accompanied the incidents but in truth Hughes' reaction was more over the top than the challenges themselves. Rodwell appeared to feel hard done by after his booking but overall this wasn't the trickiest game to referee for Chris Foy.
Five goals conceded from three games isn't ideal for City but Mancini's chief concern after the game appeared to be his team's finishing. The belief that the champions gained from beating Saturday's opposition on that dramatic day in May is a huge positive. But if it leads to an over-confidence that they can always dig themselves out of any hole then Mancini is aware that could prove costly one day. He'll want his players to be more ruthless in future.
For Hughes the challenge is to turn a sticker-album collection into a squad-building process. It's one he has undertaken before and he got a close-up look at where such a project can lead at the Etihad Stadium. Right now the focus must be on identifying the best way of using the talent at his disposal. This game wasn't the best test of that but after just one point from the opening three games he will need to hit upon a winning formula soon.