Carlos Tevez scored a hat trick as Manchester City outplayed Blackburn 4-1 to rise to fourth in the Premier League and extend new manager Roberto Mancini’s record to four wins in a row.
Tevez has now scored 10 goals in his last seven games.
City defender Micah Richards also scored after an 80-metre run, while Benjani Mwaruwari played a part in the first three goals.
Man City’s 10th league victory of the season means Mancini’s team has 38 points from 20 games to move above Tottenham into fourth, seven points behind leader Chelsea.
Morten Gamst Pedersen’s goal for Blackburn was the first that the former Inter Milan coach has conceded since he replaced the fired Mark Hughes as City manager last month.
Unable to make his debut because of a calf muscle injury, new signing Patrick Vieira walked on to the pitch at City of Manchester Stadium to be cheered by the home fans before kickoff.
The players and fans held a minute’s silence as a mark of respect to the three people who died when gunmen opened fire on the Togo team bus in Angola on Friday before the start of the African Cup of Nations.
Man City raced into the lead in the seventh minute when Blackburn goalkeeper Paul Robinson, possibly impeded by a teammate, dropped Martin Petrov’s corner. Benjani fed the ball to Tevez, who turned it home from close range with his right thigh.
It was 2-0 just before halftime when Richards beat several Blackburn players when charging up-field and, after Benjani’s shot had hit the post, he was ideally positioned to knock in the rebound.
Tevez started and finished the move that brought the third goal in the 49th minute. The Argentina forward passed to Benjani down the right and arrived to collect the Zimbabwe striker’s cross to drive the ball past Robinson from the edge of the area.
Tevez should have collected his hat trick in the 58th but headed tamely wide from close range from a cross by Pablo Zabaleta.
Mancini sent on Robinho for Craig Bellamy midway through the second half. But it was Blackburn who scored next in the 71st when Pedersen ran through to curl a shot past goalkeeper Shay Given.
Tevez’ third came when he took a short pass from Robinho to slide a low shot past Robinson from the edge of the area.