Ruthless Pep Guardiola delivers a scathing verdict of Manchester City’s thumping FOUR-goal win at Newcastle, as he insists it was ‘not a good performance at all’ despite admitting the result was ‘exceptional’
Manchester City might have set a new record for victories on Sunday, scoring four in the process, but Pep Guardiola scolded his players after a lacklustre display.
The Premier League champions became the first team in history to win 34 top-flight games over a calendar year by cruising past Newcastle United.
Despite the ease with which they notched up an eighth consecutive win – going six points clear of third-placed Chelsea – their manager was left unimpressed with the collective performance.
Pep Guardiola criticised Manchester City’s performance after their 4-0 victory at Newcastle
The remarks underlined why City are so consistently strong under the Catalan as they hunt for a fourth league title in five years.
‘It was an exceptional result and not a good performance at all – especially in the first half,’ Guardiola said. ‘The way we played in the first half was one of the poorest of the season.
‘The quality of the players made the difference but that is not the way we want to play.
Joao Cancelo (L) scored City’s second goal, but Guardiola says his side missed ‘simple things’
‘Of course, in this type of game when you’re not so brilliant or consistent – you miss simple things – you take the result. What we missed were the simple things, not the complicated things.’
City are in the envious position of being able to score four goals away from home and still believe that there are significant areas of improvement.
Guardiola appeared pleased that it could serve to keep his squad in check on a day that he did not call on either Phil Foden or Jack Grealish from the bench.
‘It made me happy for the fact that we will not be distracted for this short run of victories,’ he added. ‘I realised there is a margin for us to become a better team. The first half was dangerous really. Every player was not completely focused.
Guardiola’s team became the first team in history to win 34 top-flight games in a calendar year
‘We are proud. We’ve broken a record today but I am still aware of the margin we have to be better. We’re working on that.’
Guardiola has watched his team eat up the goal difference deficit with their two title rivals this week by scoring 11 times in two matches.
He claimed that the demolition jobs have ‘solved the goal difference problem’ but Newcastle boss Eddie Howe was left counting the cost of officiating for the second time in four days.
Howe was aghast by Martin Atkinson and VAR official Craig Pawson denying the hosts a first-half penalty when Ederson collided with Ryan Fraser at 2-0.
City have scored 11 times in two matches, but Guardiola is keen for them to keep improving
‘I’m not the type of manager that looks for excuses or to blame the officials but it is another clear moment, a big moment in the game, that has gone against us,’ Howe said.
‘I’m shaking my head at it because the goalkeeper is out of control, he’s wiped Ryan out. How VAR hasn’t intervened or how they haven’t come to that decision is a really strange one.’
Howe will also be disgruntled at his team’s defending after miscommunication between goalkeeper Martin Dubravka and Ciaran Clark allowed Ruben Dias to head home a calamitous fifth-minute opener.
Eddie Howe hit out at Newcastle’s defending after the calamitous nature of City’s first goal
‘The individual errors… it’s something we need to address and need to look at very quickly,’ he said. ‘City are the one team in the world where you don’t want to chase the game because they are so good with the ball.’
Guardiola added: ‘We were lucky with the goal we scored at the beginning, the Newcastle defenders misunderstood and were confused. The second goal was brilliant from Joao [Cancelo].’
Meanwhile, City were again without right back Kyle Walker, with Guardiola twice repeating that the England international ‘did not feel good’.