Slick City show, yet Pep not overjoyed

LONDON • Putting four unanswered goals past an English Premier League side, especially at an away ground, would cause most managers to break out the champagne, but not a perfectionist like Pep Guardiola.

For the Manchester City manager, despite setting an unrelenting pace at the top with six straight league wins, there will be no basking in the accolades - not with a rival like Liverpool, who have 33 points and are just two behind.

He was quick to mention the Reds, who are widely considered to be league champions City's biggest challengers for the title this season, after their dominant 4-0 victory at West Ham on Saturday.

"The best start ever for Liverpool in a huge history with I don't know how many Champions League and Premier Leagues, that means how tough it will be," the Spaniard said.

He also blamed the international break for his side not being at their best at the London Stadium, saying: "The guys were training (elsewhere) for 10 days, most of them in a different way, sometimes in a different rhythm.

"They come back and have just one training centre, and then travel away to West Ham.

"The pass, we lost more, we didn't find the right spots to attack them. They were there, we didn't find them, but the four goals were fantastic, the result is incredible."

  • 6

    Number of straight victories in the English Premier League by Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

He was grateful for avoiding a potential banana skin, noting that their major European rivals had all stumbled over the weekend.

"After the international break, we know (Real) Madrid lose away (at Eibar), Bayern Munich draw at home (to Fortuna), (Manchester) United were not able to win at home," he added.

"It is complicated after the international break, always so difficult so that is why I give a lot of credit (to the team) knowing we have to be better."

Captain David Silva fired City ahead for their opener.

Raheem Sterling tapped in Leroy Sane's cross to double the lead. And the roles were reversed for the third before the break as Sane slid home from close range.

While West Ham were improved in the second half, they could not make inroads into the City defence and Sane nabbed his brace in added time after a cross from substitute Gabriel Jesus.

Guardiola hailed the Germany winger, who has faced plenty of criticism after a difficult start to the season that has seen him in and out of City's starting XI, claiming he "never had any doubts about his quality".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2018, with the headline 'Slick City show, yet Pep not overjoyed'. Print Edition | Subscribe