Roberto Mancini says he is delighted to see his Manchester City side sitting pretty at the top of the Barclays Premier League table at Christmas, but admits he would liked to have had a more comfortable cushion.
The Citizens have recorded 44 points from their opening 17 games this season, dropping just seven points, with their only loss coming just under a fortnight ago when they fell to a 2-1 defeat against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Despite the club's impressive start to the 2011-12 campaign they sit only two points clear of second-placed Manchester United, who are determined not to surrender their crown without a fight.
"It is special [to be top]," Mancini told Sky Sports. "But we have only two points over United - normally at 44 you should have five or six over the second team."
City responded to their first defeat of the season with a 1-0 win over Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium last weekend, and followed that up with a convincing 3-0 victory over a lacklustre Stoke City side last night.
"I think always when you play against Stoke it is difficult but they played for 90-minutes with men behind the ball, so when you play against a team like this it is difficult," Mancini added.
"But we did well, we had to be patient and we didn't find a solution until the first goal. It is difficult, we played for most of the game with over 20 players in one half."
Mancini celebrated two years in charge at City this week, and reflected positively on what he has achieved in that time, whilst maintaining that there is still plenty of room for improvement.
"I am happy after two years in Manchester, with City - we have done a good job until now and we are top and we will continue to work hard if we want to stay here, if we want to win the championship and other things.
"We need all the players, we have a lot of games, and the level the players are at it is important to keep it at that."
"It is different now from when I arrived, but we are all working together - after two years it is good."