Manchester City again did their job as they wait for an opportunity to get back into the title race.
The champions continued their pursuit of rivals Manchester United at the top of the Barclays Premier League by easing to a fourth win in succession at the expense of Fulham.
David Silva grabbed both goals, the first inside two minutes and the second a sublime chip, in a 2-0 victory over the Cottagers at the Etihad Stadium.
City have recovered their poise since losing to United and Sunderland in December and are determined not to give up their crown without a fight.
Striker Edin Dzeko told the club's website, www.mcfc.co.uk: "We have to just keep doing what we're doing.
"I think Manchester United will drop points sooner or later but we just need to keep winning and keep the pressure on them."
City were the dominant team and although Fulham frustrated them at times in the 67 minutes between Silva's strikes, they could have won by a greater margin.
Silva was inches away from a hat-trick when he rolled a shot past the far post just moments after making it 2-0 and late substitute Sergio Aguero had two good chances on his return from injury.
Dzeko also had opportunities, not least when he fired over from close range in injury time.
Dzeko, City's top scorer with 11 goals in all competitions this season, said: "David took his goals really well and he is disappointed he didn't maybe get a third, but I'm really pleased for him and that the team won.
"We are a bit disappointed we didn't score more goals after taking the lead so early in the game and I think if we'd scored again in the first half we'd have gone on and won by more but sometimes it doesn't pan out like that.
"We got the second at a good time so we have to be happy.
"I'm disappointed I didn't score, but I think I played okay. As long as we keep winning, I'm happy."
Silva had scored only one goal previously this season and his recent return to form has given City a lift after losing Yaya Toure for the African Nations Cup.
He got on the scoresheet by pouncing when Mark Schwarzer parried a Dzeko shot and he demonstrated his class in doubling the lead by combining with Carlos Tevez and lifting a shot over the goalkeeper.
The Spaniard said: "It was great to get two goals and I had the opportunity for a third, for the hat-trick, but I didn't make contact as good as I wanted. But it is the points for the team that really matter.
"It was a good game, the important thing was to get three points and put some pressure on United."
Fulham tried to play a patient game to frustrate the hosts but, having conceded such an early goal, never truly threatened.
They created only one moment of alarm for City when Steve Sidwell glanced a header against the outside of the post from a Damien Duff cross just before half-time.
Although they look comfortable on the ball, form is a concern for the Cottagers with just two wins in their last 15 games.
But defender Matthew Briggs, who replaced Kieran Richardson at left-back in the second half and has a chance to move up the pecking order with John Arne Riise out of favour, expects it to improve.
He told www.fulhamfc.com: "I think it's only a matter of time.
"It hasn't been easy, and when you break it down like that it isn't good enough.
"I do think we have been very unlucky at times, but that's football isn't it?
"Every side goes through bad patches, and that's what we have to deal with.
"We have a lot of quality though, and I'm sure it will click into place for us.
"We need to find our feet again, we need to find the momentum that we had before.
"There are positives to be taken despite the results, and we believe we can find our form again."