Pep Guardiola applauded Manchester City’s victory over Newcastle United, describing the 2-0 triumph as their “performance of the season”.

City eased past Newcastle thanks to goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Ferran Torres to move within five points of Premier League leaders Liverpool on Saturday.

Guardiola’s City have kept 13 clean sheets in all competitions this season – more than any other team in the top five European leagues in 2020-21.

Speaking afterwards, a happy Guardiola told reporters: “It was the best performance of the season. Our football has to be played in one rhythm so we cannot play in a rhythm that has ups and downs so quickly.

“You have to make a tempo that makes a lot, a thousand-million, passes in the right moment to attack. To do this everyone has to be in his position and everyone has to do his job. Today was a big example, unfortunately, playing a team always with 10 players behind is not easy to attack but the guys were really good.

“I’m so glad about the way we played. That’s always a consequence for the points we get. We have another victory, we climb some positions, and now we can’t stop in the good or bad moments, we need to be calm because in less than 44 hours we’ll have another game and we’re going to Goodison Park to try to play well first of all.

“The result is always the consequences of the way you played. This was our success in the past and we’re going to continue in the next years.”

Gundogan opened the scoring in the 14th minute before Torres doubled the lead 10 minutes into the second half at home to visiting Newcastle.

Raheem Sterling’s assist for Gundogan was his 150th goal involvement in all competitions since Guardiola joined City in 2016 (96 goals and 54 assists) – more than any other player at the club in that time, per Opta.

City have won all seven games in all competitions in which Torres has scored for the team, with five of his seven strikes coming at the Etihad Stadium.

Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker, meanwhile, missed the clash due to coronavirus, after the star City pair and two staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

Asked about Jesus and Walker, City manager Guardiola said: “Listen the last thing I think right now is without Gabriel and Kyle is a problem for the team. What we want, what I want is Gabriel and Kyle being [tested] positive but not getting worse and being asymptomatic and pass these 10 days without any symptoms.

“COVID is here, it’s not here in Manchester, it’s in many cities all around the world. That’s why we have to be careful and what we want is for them to recover in the next days. And we are going to wait for them. We are looking forward to seeing them again. Without them, we’re going to move forward. The team, the guys who want to join us and commit to the team, what we want to do all together, they will more be than welcome.

“So the guys who think about what is best for the team, the guys who think I have to give something for the team, even it’s worse for me those guys will be part of the team forever. If the guy doesn’t want it, they will be the problem.”