Stuart Pearce paid tribute to his Manchester City side's character following the 2-1 win over Everton.
After a disappointing start to the game City improved dramatically after half-time and substitute Georgios Samaras secured victory with two goals.
"In the first half we didn't match them physically. They imposed their system on ours," he told Sky Sports.
"We had to do something about it. I feel we looked a totally different side in the second half and credit to the players for that.
"I think every time I've asked them to respond for me this season they've done that for me.
"There's a fantastic character at this club and that is one thing that pleases me."
On Samaras' introduction Pearce added: "That's the tactical genius that is Stuart Pearce. What we do is put all the names in a hat at half-time and draw one out with our eyes shut, and Georgios' name came out.
"Credit to Georgios, but I think the other ten players responded as well."
Micah Richards, Joey Barton and Sylvain Distin have all been linked with moves away from the club, but Pearce is confident of keeping all three.
"We would prefer all our better players to stay, and we have had no enquiries in regard to those players," he explained.
"I don't want to sell any of them. I think they are an absolute credit to this football club.
"Go and ask them if they enjoy playing for Man City and I think they would say 'yes'. I think they want to stay and want to be part of it."