Man City boss Pep Guardiola lauded one particular element of his team, and fired back at recent criticism of the club.
The Cityzens ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over Marseille to move clear at the top of Group C in the Champions League.
The victory was the perfect response after more dropped points in the Premier League last weekend, and Guardiola was understandably overjoyed with the display.
“We played really well, we didn’t concede much and we were in control, patient and aggressive without the ball,” said the Spaniard.
“I’m so satisfied with the performance and result, it’s always difficult to win away.
“We can play on both sides, we tried to play high and wide to stretch the pitch. Raheem Sterling was exceptional, Phil [Foden] as well.
MATCH REPORT: Sterling on target as Man City dispatch Marseille with ease
“We didn’t expect them to play five at the back until we saw the team. Porto was the same. As much as we play against five at the back we started to take the control and rhythm.”
Clean sheets have proved hard to come by this season, with Guardiola namechecking four defenders for praise after shutting out their French opposition.
“We were so stable defensively,” he added. “Aymeric [Laporte] was good, Kyle [Walker] is in the best form since we’ve been together, Oleksandr [Zinchenko] helped us, John [Stones] played good minutes. I’m so satisfied with the way we played.”
When asked if the criticism his side have come in for this season was justified, Guardiola said: “We have to accept the criticism. We play every three days, when you win it’s good but if you don’t people want to destroy everything.
“But it’s about the chairman and everyone else understanding. Part of the criticism was right, but you’ve got to accept it. It’s part of our job.
“It’s about where we’ve come from in the last month, with lack of preparation, injuries and Covid-19 but the Champions League is in a good place now.
“I’m sure we’re going to find that consistency.”
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