LONDON – Pep Guardiola says his free-scoring Manchester City side can still improve – in a chilling message to Premier League rivals – but is refusing to get carried away by their electrifying early-season form.
City hammered Watford 6-0 at Vicarage Road on Saturday to complete three wins in seven days, scoring 15 goals without reply.
Hailing fullback recruits Kyle Walker, Danilo and Benjamin Mendy for transforming City’s blueprint, Guardiola, whose side are top of the Premier League alongside Manchester United, said his team 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 fullbacks 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 short passes.
“I like it when we play short passes through the middle, five, six metres, that gives us continuity,” he added. “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.”
Sergio Aguero’s sixth Premier League hat-trick on Saturday leaves the 29-year-old three goals shy of breaking City’s all-time scoring record, held by Eric Brook with 177 strikes.
But Guardiola, in comments reported by the British press on Monday, remains cautious.
Asked if he considers City now ready to go toe-to-toe with the likes of reigning champions Chelsea, Guardiola 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,” Guardiola added. “You have to accept it.
“You have to accept sometimes the opposition is better. Then you analyse why, to improve for the future.”