Pep Guardiola criticised his Manchester City players despite his side winning 4-0 against Newcastle in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
City capitalised on some shambolic Magpies defending to open the lead through Ruben Dias inside five minutes. After this though, their performance dropped off and Newcastle were unlucky not to equalise during a period of better pressure.
City did eventually add to their tally thanks to strikes from Joao Cancelo, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling, but Guardiola was not pleased with his side’s overall first half display.
“Exceptional [result], in a not very good performance at all, especially the first half,” he summarised.
“We were lucky for the goal we scored at the beginning of the game. The second goal was a brilliant action from Joao, but the way we played in the first half was one of the poorest of the season.
“The first half was a dangerous position. The second half was much, much better. During the season this can happen. It’s normal. You can’t be brilliant all the time.
“We more than deserved the victory but we know we can do better and better.
“In these types of games you might not be so brilliant, or consistent like we were for the simple things we missed, not the complicated ones. (But) to take a result is so important in this long season ahead of us.”
The result, combined with Liverpool’s failure to beat Tottenham later in the day, means that City will hold a three-point lead over the Reds at the top of the Premier League table on Christmas Day.
City’s next game is against Leicester on Boxing Day, though there are doubts over whether it will go ahead due to the ongoing coronavirus situation.
“I will support the doctors and scientists and the Premier League’s decision,” Guardiola added.
“I see people in the street, nobody wearing a mask, nobody social distancing. That’s why it will happen sooner or later.
“We try to create a good environment for players, staff and backroom staff to realise the danger is still here. We have to try it knowing it’s not easy, it’s a problem worldwide that’s still there. The virus is there, the new variant.
“We will support what the Premier League decides.”