Pep Guardiola said his Manchester City side were “back” on Sunday after they outclassed Chelsea 3-1 at Stamford Bridge to move into the top five of the Premier League.
City struck three times in 16 minutes in the first half with Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne on target as the visitors sent out a warning to the title contenders.
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“We played really well. Unfortunately the last goal but the result at Stamford Bridge is fantastic. Today we were back like we were. An important win at Chelsea away,” Guardiola said.
“The Premier League is weird for everything. Everything is weird, just have to be focused during the games but otherwise relax. Hopefully in the Premier League in the last six, seven games we can be there fighting.”
City are now unbeaten in seven games and are only four points behind leaders Liverpool and Manchester United having played a game less. At times during the first half they played the kind of football that brought back-to-back titles.
Even more impressive was the fact that Guardiola was without six players who were isolating because of a COVID-19 outbreak at the club, including keeper Ederson, Ferran Torres, Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus while Riyad Mahrez and Sergio Aguero were only on the bench after injuries.
“The result is incredible for us, especially the way that we played,” Guardiola said. “Chelsea are one of the strongest teams, but we had a plan and tried to play how we’ve done in the past and it worked, the players were fantastic.
“We have to play to our rhythm. We won the Premier League like that, more patient, more calm, and we’ve missed that tempo a little bit for many reasons.
“The way we won the two Premier League titles was like today.”
While City are back, Chelsea appear to be going backwards after a fourth defeat in six league games.
They actually started well on Sunday, but had no answer to City once they clicked into gear.
“For 10 minutes we were good, then they started to play and we concede two poor goals back-to-back in the game. It knocked us and we didn’t react well,” Lampard, whose side have dropped to eighth in the table, said.
“Serious lessons in the first half, good character in the second half but then the game was done. When a team gives you a problem it has to be dealt with but we didn’t.”