Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola was delighted with his side’s display in beating Burnley and felt it was important that they improved as the match wore on.
The champions picked up their fifth top-flight win thanks to goals from Bernardo Silva and Kevin de Bruyne. Silva followed up Phil Foden’s shot to give the hosts a 12th-minute lead. Burnley defended well under constant pressure and kept the Citizens out until De Bruyne struck on 70 minutes.
City enjoyed plenty of possession but struggled to break down Sean Dyche’s well-drilled side at times. And Guardiola admitted it is never easy to play at full capacity after two weeks away.
Liverpool and Sunderland among best picks as top four English leagues take shape
“After the international break it’s always a little bit difficult to come to a rhythm and I know how good Burnley are,” he told BBC Sport. “They did really well, they have good players and we played a good 15-20 minutes in the first-half, we created chances and the last 20 minutes we lost some tempo.
“We did well in the second half and played really well and could’ve scored more goals. Good result, after the international break we take the victory and look what’s next.”
And the Spanish tactician was pleased with the way his charges dealt with the Clarets’ direct style of play.
“We run and fight for every ball, Burnley play for long balls and they’re a master at this,” he added. “You have to defend set pieces well and anything could’ve happened if Chris Wood had scored that goal near the end. We had chances but couldn’t score more unfortunately.”
Guardiola hails City progression
City romped to the title last season but are not having it all their own way in 2021-2022. Liverpool and Chelsea are challenging their dominance in what could be a tight title race.
It is still early days but Guardiola believes he is seeing progress in his side’s development.
“The importance is improving our game I am satisfied that the second-half was better than first,” he continued. “The team showed me the way we want to play and the shape we want to play in.
“All the guys gave everything. It doesn’t matter if the performance is good or not, it’s important that you fight for your team-mates and everyone was incredible.”
Raheem Sterling was handed a rare Premier League start after suggesting he might leave in January over a lack of game time.
READ MORE: Agent of world-class star gives Man City encouragement for huge deal