Pep frustrated with aspects of City’s win

Manchester City
Pep Guardiola hailed the performance of his players as they beat West Ham United 4-1 in the Premier League Asia Trophy.

Pep Guardiola described Manchester City as "sloppy" and admitted his side's "rhythm was not there" despite a 5-0 thumping of West Ham.

The reigning Premier League champions got off to a perfect start with a very comfortable 5-0 victory over the Hammers at the London Stadium, with Raheem Sterling hitting a hat-trick and Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus also on target.

It was a routine victory for City in the end to get their title defence up and running, and they appear to be well equipped to launch another tilt at all the top prizes this season on early evidence.

However, Guardiola refused to get carried away and believes there is plenty of room for improvement from his side, who were only 1-0 up at half-time thanks to Jesus’ clever finish at the near post.

When asked for his assessment of the opening win, the Spaniard said he couldn’t complain about the result but wants more in terms of the level of performance.

Guardiola’s high standards means City can never rest on their laurels and the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich chief says his side needed to pass the ball better at times, particularly in the first half, and control things more in their usual fashion.

“In terms of results, yes [I’m happy],” he said. [In terms of performance] no,” the City official website quoted him as saying.

“In the first half we were sloppy in the precision and accuracy of our passes. But that’s normal. I knew it, we talked about it. The rhythm was not there, but that’s normal for the first game. In the second half we were better, we were more calm, we played extra passes. After we went 3-0 up, the game was over.”

He added: “But I cannot deny it, I’m delighted to win 5-0 away from home in the first game.”

Such was the margin of victory, City immediately got one over expected title rivals Liverpool, who had won 4-1 against Norwich on Friday night. Guardiola’s side reacted well to Liverpool’s impressive opening win and already last term’s top two have laid down markers for the campaign ahead.

Next up for City is what looks to be a tougher test when they welcome Champions League finalists Tottenham to the Etihad for their first home game of the season on Saturday.

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