Pep Guardiola called rampant Manchester City a “joy to watch” after his side ripped apart Watford in record-breaking fashion and racked up an 8-0 win.
Last weekend’s shock loss to Norwich is now far in the rear-view mirror, thanks to the midweek Champions League triumph at Shakhtar Donetsk being followed up by the club’s biggest ever top-flight victory.
Bernardo Silva’s hat-trick was complemented by efforts David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Riyad Mahrez, Nicolas Otamendi and star man Kevin De Bruyne as Watford fell to their heaviest ever league defeat.
The key to the victory was five goals in a remarkable 18 opening minutes and City eventually finished just short of Manchester United’s Premier League record 9-0 defeat of Ipswich in 1995.
“It is weird, it is not normal,” Guardiola said of his side’s start at the Etihad Stadium. “Five shots, five goals.
“In the same time we gave them two chances to score two goals that we were lucky in this time it didn’t happen when in the past it sometimes happened.
“But the quality of the players up front made the difference, so the quality that we have is a joy to watch.
“After 5-0, the game is completely different. Analyse after that, the mood one team, the mood the other team. The relaxation you play with, the tension they play with, so it’s difficult to say.
“We were ruthless in terms of five shots, five goals. Sometimes we shoot 25 times or 15 or 20 and you cannot do it.
“So, after the Champions League and a huge trip back home, no time to prepare, rest and everything.
“It was a lovely day for all of us, for our City fans, a lovely day in the sunshine and a lot of goals.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets has dismissed claims suggesting Raheem Sterling can reach the level of Argentina star Lionel Messi.
The Manchester City winger has been prolific for club and country in the past couple of seasons, thus warranting comparisons to the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Busquets spoke highly of Sterling but refrained from comparing him to Messi. He claimed that such a comparison is harmful to the player’s career.
“Look, Sterling is a player with a big profile and a big potential,” he said, according to the Mirror.
“But comparing him to Leo Messi seems very exaggerated and not positive for the player.
“What is true is that each one is playing a very big role in his club. He is a good player and can also have a lot of influence on the English national team.
“As far as the Champions League is concerned, Manchester City is always one of the candidates. But Barcelona, with Messi, is the favourite for me.”
Mauricio Pochettino will judge how good this current Tottenham squad are at the end of the season.
After two transfer windows without signing a single player, Spurs returned to business this summer and secured the services of Ryan Sessegnon, Giovani Lo Celso, Tanguy Ndomele and Jack Clarke.
Only a handful of key players left, with Kieran Trippier and Fernando Llorente moving on but Pochettino refused to be drawn on whether this group were the best he had been in charge of at Hotspur Way.
“We will see at the end of the season. At the moment I don’t believe this is the best squad,” he said.
“But I think if you only see the results, playing in the final of the Champions League, it’s easy to say the better squad was last season’s squad because we got to the final.
“We will see if we can repeat, or if we win some trophy maybe we can talk about this being the best squad.”
😠 0-1 (4mins)— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 20, 2019
😅 1-1 (7mins)
😐 1-2 (16mins)
😫 1-3 (47mins)
🤔 2-3 (49mins)
😏 3-3 (53mins)
😜 4-3 (60mins)
😢 4-4 (73mins)
😍 5-4 (76mins)
An emotional roller coaster against our upcoming opponents. 😅#THFC ⚪️ #COYS pic.twitter.com/cKOz1y8aAL
Spurs’ lack of consistency has been a problem for a while now, arguably stretching back to the beginning of 2019.
A 3-1 win over Leicester in February was Tottenham’s fourth straight victory in the Premier League, but since then the best they have managed in the division is back-to-back wins and they have only achieved this once.
It highlights why Pochettino has been frustrated, but does the fact he constantly changes the team also have an impact on results?
He added: “England is a very competitive country. I’m lucky to have the possibility to play in four competitions, so all need to be ready to play now and is going to have the possibility to play. And they need to show their quality.
“The problem in football is it’s not basketball, that you can change every five minutes, you can play only with 11.
“If you want to give consistency to the team, maybe you need to keep your 11 to play consistently, but the moment that you start to change, if you don’t win, ‘why (did) we change?’. If you win and you want to change, the players that don’t play they need to play more.”
One player who has constantly hit strong performance levels is Harry Winks, even though the midfielder failed to play a single minute for England on international duty recently.
Pochettino admitted the Spurs academy graduate can improve even more, but talked up his development over the past 12 months, which has seen him become a regular starter.
“I think there is still room to improve but I am happy with his mentality,” Tottenham’s manager said.
“He is one of the most aggressive players on the pitch. When he keeps the ball, how he plays, with the ball he is very aggressive, breaking lines, keeping possession, always thinking forwards. I think we expect that from him, but what pleases us the most is his play without the ball.
“The progress, how is working, how he is fighting, how aggressive he is and the hunger to recover the ball quick – that is I think what he need to keep working and pushing on because that is what is going to make the difference to be a good player, or a big player.”