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Sunday 10 December 2017

Pep: 'City not at Chelsea's level for Premier trophy'

Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus (centre) celebrates scoring his side’s third goal during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road, Watfo Photo: PA
Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus (centre) celebrates scoring his side’s third goal during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road, Watfo Photo: PA

Pep Guardiola has insisted Manchester City cannot yet declare themselves ready to match the level of Premier League title-holders Chelsea.

City hammered Watford 6-0 at Vicarage Road on Saturday, to complete three wins in seven days, scoring 15 goals without reply.

Sergio Aguero’s sixth Premier League hat-trick leaves the 29-year-old three goals shy of breaking City’s all-time scoring record, held by Eric Brook with 177 strikes.

Not even Saturday’s six-star showing, nor the 5-0 thumping of Liverpool could convince Guardiola to lay bare City’s intentions for the campaign however.

Asked if he considers City now ready to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Chelsea, Guardiola only replied: “We will see. But I think we’ve made a step forward in terms of last season.

“My feeling now is that everybody knows what we have to do, the players know what they have to do, with, without the ball in transition. And that’s so important.

“We weren’t good enough last season, Chelsea and Tottenham were better. You have to accept it.

“You have to accept sometimes the opposition is better. Then you analyse why to improve for the future.

“In an athlete’s career there are maybe 10 or 15 per cent happiness moments, you lose more than you win. So you’ve got to enjoy it when you win.”

Hailing full-back recruits Kyle Walker, Danilo and Benjamin Mendy for transforming City’s blueprint, Guardiola insisted his side are nowhere near their peak.

“Even if it looks like we cannot improve, of course we can improve,” said Guardiola.

“There’s still movement, there are still actions we can improve.

“The full-backs are so important. They offer energy to go up and down so that means we can put more players in the middle, to play, to pass the sort passes.

“I like it when we play short passes through the middle, five, six metres, that gives us continuity. We create the spaces behind the press.

“To do that you need more players in one position.

“And Kyle (Walker) and Danilo and Mendy help us a lot to be able to do that.

“Without that it would be even more complicated.”

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