Men's Team

Guardiola salutes ‘excellent’ derby display

THE BOSS: Guardiola celebrates the early goal.
Pep Guardiola felt his side delivered a performance of the highest quality as Manchester City cruised to a derby victory over Manchester United.

The Catalan said his players were excellent at the Etihad Stadium, where we seized control of the contest in the second half to turn what had been an even encounter during the opening 45 minutes into a one-sided affair.

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City led 2-1 at the break thanks to a brace from Man of the Match Kevin De Bruyne but outclassed our local rivals in the second period when Riyad Mahrez was on target twice to wrap up a comfortable win.

"The display was excellent," Guardiola said at his post-match press conference.

"We let them run a lot in the first half but we made an excellent performance. I am the biggest critic of my team, but today in the second half we played really good.

"We struggled to make a better build up [in the first half] but I don’t think they created much problems. 

"We felt from the first minute of the second half that we had the game in hand.

"Today, the best thing we have done, especially in the second half, was that we played with the rhythm we have to play.

"We cannot play all the time in one rhythm. In the right moment we have to run and today we did it really well."

WATCH: City 4-1 United: Short highlights

De Bruyne and Mahrez grabbed the headlines at the Etihad Stadium, but Guardiola was particularly impressed with Phil Foden’s efforts.

The Academy graduate was once again deployed as a false nine in the centre of City’s front three and went close on several occasions, including with a header which looped onto the top of the crossbar.

Guardiola felt the 21-year-old was a little rushed in his attacking play, but hailed the way he set the tone for the rest of his team with his tireless pressing from the front.

"The most difficult position in football is the striker," the boss added.

"You are surrounded by two players. The space is minimal and in front you have two or three holding midfielders.

"You are surrounded by five people. You don’t have time. You have to be so smooth and good. 

"He was a little bit impatient in the final third in the second half. He had to make the extra pass. If you don’t see a clear shot, take one second more.

"But he fought and ran and pressed and helped us to have rhythm. When Phil, Bernardo and Kevin go in the first action so aggressive it is so addictive for the players behind.

"We can stay high and the second half was a perfect example of that."

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