David Platt has warned Manchester City's rivals that the Barclays Premier League champions have hardly got out of pre-season mode.
City are yet to hit their stride but have still collected seven points from the opening three games of their title defence. Their latest victory, a 3-1 success over QPR at the Etihad Stadium, was far less convincing than it threatened to be as City dominated the first half and wasted chances in the second before Carlos Tevez scored their third in injury time.
"We are not over-happy in terms of performances at this moment in time but we are happy it is balanced out by the points we have got on the table and that we are scoring goals," first-team coach Platt said.
"It's not that we are not playing well but I don't think we are playing as well as we were at the start of last season when we were blowing teams away. We are not quite there with the squad in terms of fitness, because of the European Championship people coming back.
"We are almost using these games to get minutes into people's legs. I think after the international break Gareth Barry will have played another reserve game and had another couple of weeks' 'pre-season' training, Sergio (Aguero) will be there or thereabouts and we have got the new faces coming in.
"The international games will give David Silva another couple of games. There are players there almost still in the pre-season phase but playing games for real.
"You'd like to think by the time we get back through the door in 10 days' time we'll be in position to kick on as a squad."
Having signed 12 players since their last visit to Eastlands 16 weeks ago, QPR were a much-changed side from the one which narrowly avoided relegation in May.
They are still to win a match this term but after causing the champions some difficulties, manager Mark Hughes is convinced progress is being made.
The former City boss said: "We have to remember we were in the backyard of the champions. We came and pressed and we imposed ourselves on a very good team. I'm pleased with that."
- Manchester City
- David Platt