Belgium international Kevin De Bruyne starred as Manchester City ended Southampton’s unbeaten away record in the Premier League this season with a disjointed 3-1 win on Saturday.
Having lost at Juventus in the Champions League in mid-week and dropped five points in their previous two league games to slip from the summit, City needed any kind of victory to restore their momentum.
And despite the threat of a Southampton fightback early in the second half, Pellegrini’s side did enough thanks to early goals from De Bruyne and Fabian Delph, and a third, 20 minutes from time, by Aleksandar Kolarov.
City saw key striker Sergio Aguero hobble off with what appeared to be an ankle injury mid-way through the second half, but Pellegrini played down the extent of the problem.
After their abject performance in losing 4-1 at home to Liverpool last weekend, City showed their intent from the start at a rain-lashed Etihad Stadium.
It looked as though they had the game won inside the opening quarter as De Bruyne scored his seventh goal of the season and Delph his first for the club.
Southampton goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg had already been forced to make saves from Raheem Sterling and Kolarov’s curling free-kick when he was beaten by De Bruyne in the ninth minute.
The Netherlands international had no chance of keeping out De Bruyne’s tap-in, but the ball would never have got that far had Maya Yoshida not conceded possession to Sterling wide on the Saints right.
The City winger was given an uninterrupted run into the box and picked out his teammate with a low cross.
Southampton, missing suspended top scorer Graziano Pelle, did not help their cause by constantly giving the ball away in dangerous areas and with 20 minutes gone they were 2-0 down.