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Champions League

Pep Guardiola says Manchester City ‘can do better’ after routing Sporting Lisbon in Champions League

Pep Guardiola has said Manchester City “can do better” after their rout of Sporting CP in the Champions League.

City were completely dominant in the first leg of their last-16 tie as a brace from Bernardo Silva and goals from Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling gave them a 5-0 win at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.

Asked to assess City’s performance afterwards, Guardiola said: “Don’t misunderstand me. I am more than delighted. I know how difficult this competition is, 5-0 is fantastic.

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“Today we were so clinical – arrive, goal, arrive, goal, arrive, goal – and when that happens it is difficult for the opponent. But we didn’t do our build-up well.

“We defended well and we got an incredible result. But we have a duty as a manager and as a team to analyse exactly how we performed individually and collectively. Not just the result.

“The result is a dream but we can perform better. Not just in the Champions League, but in the Premier League we always concede few. We concede so few shots on target in every game. This is important.

“We have to take care of the few chances they had. But I say the same, we are not a team that defend well.

“If you analyse individually we are not defenders, we are an offensive team in most departments. We have to do it with the ball.

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“We have to take better care of it than we did today. Today it was because we were so clinical. We arrived and scored and, when that happens, it is mentally difficult for the opponent, you get confidence and you relax.

“Sometimes football is margins. Sometimes you win games for this and all the analysis is how good one team is, how bad the other one is, but it is the margin.

“Maybe you have this duty and another one is to see how [the players] perform individually and the team and the plan depends on how they play, if we execute it as well or not.

“Don’t misunderstand me, it is a dream, a perfect result and so good for the second leg. But we can do better.”

Guardiola also reserved high praise for Silva, calling the 27-year-old “the perfect player” following his brace.

“Bernardo is unique,” he said. “First as a person, his mum and dad have to be so proud because he’s a lovely, lovely person.

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“He’s so generous whether he plays or doesn’t play. He doesn’t just play football, he understands the game.

“There are players that play good with the ball but he understands every action, like few in the world [do].

“I hope he stays at Manchester City for many, many years but he and the club will decide.”

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12/02/2022 AT 20:47

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