Pep Guardiola thinks Manchester City can still be more clinical, despite seeing his side produce a largely comfortable 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Gabriel Jesus and David Silva scored within 93 seconds of one another with the first half drawing to a close at Selhurst Park, the second a particularly fine effort as Raheem Sterling producied a memorable assist.
In truth, City might have been far more comfortable winners, with Sterling, Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne guilty of missing presentable second-half chances.
“We enjoyed the second goal – it was nice. But in the Premier League we have to score the third and fourth because it was difficult in the end with the pressure,” Guardiola told BBC Sport.
“If [Christian] Benteke scores to make it 2-1, then it’s difficult. The only problem is we could not score the third one. We deserved it but have to be more clinical.”
City produced a fine riposte to a 2-0 defeat at home to Wolves prior to the international break to cut the gap to Liverpool to five points ahead of the unbeaten Premier League leaders’ trip to Manchester United on Sunday.
Guardiola hopes the victory is the start of another run for his defending champions.
“Hopefully we can start from here and continue our good performance,” he added. “Their keeper made a lot of saves but hopefully we can be more clinical.”
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City started the match with a makeshift centre-back pairing of Fernandinho and Rodri, who performed well at the heart of the visitors’ defence.
He said: “Our build-up was quicker because they have more intelligence and they pass the ball so well because they are central midfielders.
“The season is too long, everybody is going to play. It’s another option we have.”
Roy Hodgson had no qualms over the result but rued the fact Palace conceded the goals in such quick succession.
“I thought they worked unbelievably hard, we came across a Man City side in top form, I thought their pressure was excellent they gave us literally no time on the ball whatsoever,” he said.
“It was unlucky the two goals came so close after the other, had we got in 1-0, who knows? I’ve no complaints over the result.
“I’m proud of the way we kept fighting, we never dropped the heads or gave up and could have come up with a goal on our sheet.”
Benteke almost brought Palace back into the game with his first touch, but saw his thumping header brilliantly tipped on to the bar by Ederson as his wait for a maiden Palace goal of the campaign continued.
“It would have been a great moment for him. It was such a good header and I don’t know how the keeper kept it out,” Hodgson added.
“I was thinking, ‘Oh great, Christian’s got off the mark with a great goal against the champions’. But hopefully he can still take confidence from that and take that into the next games.”