John Stones declared "we are the champions for a reason" after Erling Haaland's fourth Premier League hat-trick of the season gave Manchester City a 3-0 win over Wolves.
City boss Pep Guardiola urged his players to show more desire after a 4-2 victory over Tottenham on Thursday, when they were booed off at half-time having fallen 2-0 down at the Etihad Stadium.
There was no discontent from City fans as they outclassed relegation-threatened Wolves, Haaland opening the scoring late in the first half before adding a second from the penalty spot and completing yet another treble early in the second half.
Haaland already has two more goals than the tally of 23 that earned Mohamed Salah and Son Heung-min the golden boot last season and the Norway striker has an astonishing 31 in all competitions in his first City campaign.
City moved two points behind Arsenal ahead of the leaders' clash with Manchester United and defender Stones says they are ready to roll up their sleeves in the battle for the title.
He told Sky Sports: "I think it's just about us, I've said it plenty of times. We can be our own worst enemies at times. We have to be focused. We can see where we are and keep taking it game by game.
"We are the champions for a reason and we want to be champions again, so we have to put ourselves in the best place possible. Keep winning games and getting clean sheets and see where it takes us."
Erling Haaland's scored 25 goals from 74 shots in his Premier League career so far.— Opta Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) January 22, 2023
Manchester City's all-time record goalscorer Sergio Agüero scored his opening 25 league goals from his first 150 shots in the Premier League (more than twice as many). pic.twitter.com/iSSP5vxzoa
Stones felt City showed a great response to a rallying cry from Guardiola.
He added: "We had to be patient to get that goal today and break them down. I thought we did so well after the other day. Especially in the first half we weren't at it and the manager made that clear.
"We knew we had to hit the ground running and get off to a good start, playing with tempo and that set the game.
"I didn't see the comments from Pep. But I knew what he said to us at half-time and what he wants from us and what he knows we can do and us as players when you are not playing as well as you can and in the second half we came out and showed it and got the win.
"We knew that we had to do that from the off and we did. The patience and desire was there and we were scoring goals and creating chances. Obviously a clean sheet is massive now."