Geovanni scored the decisive goal in the 31st minute but it was Richards who stood out with a towering performance as he helped repel waves of attacks.
It was enough to see City return to the top of the Premier League with a 100% start to the season under Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Richards told Sky Sports: "We're just delighted, it was a great team performance.
"We've come out and shown the fans we can do it.
"We can beat anyone."
He admitted expectations were raised now among City fans but said: "We've got the players to do it so why not?"