Roberto Mancini paid tribute to Wayne Bridge and Carlos Tevez after Manchester City stunned Chelsea 4-2 at Stamford Bridge.
City had not even scored at the home of the Premier League leaders in the last decade, but left with all three points thanks to a brace apiece from Tevez and Craig Bellamy.
Mancini's old Serie A sparring partner Carlo Ancelotti had an afternoon to forget as Juliano Belletti and Michael Ballack both saw red, with Frank Lampard's opener and late consolation rendered meaningless.
Bridge refused to shake the hand of John Terry prior to the game, after weeks of headlines about the axed England captain's alleged affair with his former team-mate's ex-girlfriend.
Mancini has been impressed with the way Bridge has handled the pressure in recent weeks with welcome support from his team-mates.
He told Sky Sports: "Wayne Bridge has been playing well and this team has a fantastic spirit and for this reason we won this game.
"It was a difficult game because Chelsea is a fantastic team and has played for many years in the Champions League."
Tevez only returned from compassionate leave in Argentina on Friday after the premature birth of his daughter, with Mancini joking that the striker should head back to South America.
"Perhaps tomorrow he should go to Argentina and come back one day before the game," he smiled.
"I think that Carlos was training in Argentina every day for this game."
Mancini was impressed with the performance of his players as they stunned the league leaders to blow the title race wide open and claim the initiative again in the race for fourth place.
The Italian added: "In the first half Chelsea played well. We had to concentrate and not leave any space for them and in the second half we played very well.
"It was a difficult game. We defended very well and we attacked well.
"The most important thing today was to get three points for our mentality, our spirit, for the future and the table."