Manchester City eased the pressure on boss Mark Hughes as Robinho inspired a 5-1 win over Hull City on Friday.
Robinho scored twice and young Ecuador forward Felipe Caicedo also bagged a double at Eastlands to help City climb out of the Premier League relegation zone.
Caicedo’s first Premier League goals for City were impressive enough, but it was his Brazilian strike-partner Robinho and midfielder Stephen Ireland who stole the show by tearing Hull to pieces.
City were 4-0 up within 36 minutes and Robinho’s heroics couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment for Hughes, who was beginning to feel the heat after a miserable run of six games without a win.
Craig Fagan got one back late on for Hull, but Ireland underlined City’s superiority with his side’s fifth goal soon after.
The hosts fashioned a chance in the first minute as a mix-up in the Hull area allowed Caicedo to set up Robinho, but he shot over.
In a breathless opening, Hull then went close as Dean Windass flicked on for Marlon King to take the ball past Richard Dunne, but Joe Hart saved his low shot.
A goal looked inevitable and it was the hosts who grabbed it after 15 minutes when Robinho cut in from the left and lobbed a delicate ball over the defense for Ireland.
Ireland powered toward the six-yard box and then squared for Caicedo to turn home from close range.
Robinho continued to cause problems and he completely outfoxed Bernard Mendy with a tricky run moments later before forcing Boaz Myhill to save.
Hughes’ side doubled their advantage after 27 minutes as a poor header by Ashbee was pounced upon by Ireland.
The midfielder again raced into the area and pulled back for Caicedo to net almost a carbon copy of his opener.
The home side then grabbed their third just a minute later as Robinho broke forward, checked back inside Michael Turner and buried a low shot past Myhill.
City then broke immediately to score a fourth, Shaun Wright-Phillips bursting down the right to cross for Robinho to add his second.
Hull boss Phil Brown was so furious with Hull’s display that he stopped his players leaving the pitch at halftime and gave them a very public dressing-down before finally leading them back into the sanctuary of the changing rooms.
Brown’s harsh words seemed to get the desired response as Hull were more competitive after halftime.
It helped that City were content to go through the motions with the game won. City’s Elano beat Myhill with a long-range free-kick which took a huge deflection, but the ball clipped the post.
Hull got one back with 10 minutes remaining when Fagan scrambled the ball home.
But Robinho rubbed salt into the wound by jinking into the area for Ireland to blast home the fifth two minutes later.
Manchester City’s victory was an ideal response to fellow strugglers West Ham United’s 4-1 win over Portsmouth earlier in the day.
In Friday’s other games, Everton defeated Middlesbrough 1-0, while the London derby between Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland’s game against Blackburn Rovers both ended in goalless draws.
Portsmouth took the lead through Nadir Belhadj, before Jack Collison equalized for the West Ham United.
Before halftime, Pompey missed a penalty when former Hammers forward Jermain Defoe shot wide and, after the break, the visitors pulled away thanks to a goal from Carlton Cole and two from Craig Bellamy.