Pep Talk: Guardiola hails Man City show as ‘maybe the best’
Premier League leaders put seven goals past Stoke at the Etihad
Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City in action against Mame Biram Diouf of Stoke City during the Premier League match at Etihad Stadium. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola hailed his side’s devastating display after they thrashed Stoke 7-2 at the Etihad Stadium.
The Spaniard said it was “maybe the best performance” City had produced since he took charge at the club.
The superb Kevin De Bruyne did not get on the scoresheet but provided assists for two of the goals and delivered key passes in the build-up to two others.
Asked afterwards how close his team were to being exactly what he wanted, Guardiola said: “I don’t know – always you can do it better.
“But I cannot deny, today maybe was the best performance since I arrived here, for a long time.
“Except two actions [when Stoke scored just before and just after half-time to make it 3-2] – and we have to learn from that – in general we made a really good performance.
“After the international break, it is always a little bit complicated, but we did it very well. We played quick because we played simple.
“I’m very pleased because again we won, and especially with the way we won.”
City were 3-0 up by the 27th minute, and Guardiola, who was able to leave Sergio Agüero as an unused substitute, added: “We spoke about that – [the need] to start good.
“These kind of games after international breaks, sometimes you take your time, and yesterday in the training session and today we spoke about that, that we had to start good and be aggressive.
“We cannot wait. We have to do our game, and we did it. We saw since the beginning the team was there.
“Everybody had a good performance. You cannot score seven goals if all the team are not good.”
Regarding De Bruyne, Guardiola said: “Today he didn’t score but he is a guy who is so dynamic. He is a big talent.”
The Spanish boss looked particularly elated after De Bruyne played a sublime pass in the build-up to City’s second goal.
And Guardiola said when asked about that: “I am a manager but I am a spectator too, so in that moment when you expect Kevin to shoot or something, but not for him to play the ball [like he did] . . . I think you enjoyed it, and I enjoyed it too.”