Pep Guardiola credited Manchester City for showing patience in attack as they claimed a 3-1 win over Everton to move 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League.
Phil Foden’s deflected strike put City ahead at Goodison Park but the game was level at half-time after Richarlison turned in a Lucas Digne strike that came back off the post.
Everton, who had lost each of their previous five league games against City and conceded at least twice every time, were looking resolute in defence until Bernardo Silva teed up Riyad Mahrez to score a stunning second goal.
Silva added a fine third 13 minutes from time as City became the first side in English top-flight history to win their first 10 games of a calendar year.
Manager Guardiola felt the less-hurried approach in attack in the second half proved key against a Toffees side who have now failed to win at home in five league matches.
“A real tough game, not perfect conditions, the winter time, and they are so physical as a team,” Guardiola told Amazon Prime.
“But a solid performance. The guys ran like we had to do and it’s three points.
10 – Manchester City are now 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League – the only two teams to fail to go on and win the title having had a lead of 10+ points are Newcastle United in 1995/96 and Manchester United in 1997/98. Cruising. pic.twitter.com/3ilRLBXtmZ
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 17, 2021
“We had the quality up front but it always comes through the passes. When we arrived in the final third, we wanted to attack too quickly, we needed to be patient. The second goal is an example of that.
“Sometimes it’s fine, no problem, make an extra [pass], because at the end we have to try to get the players we play up front in better conditions to make the action.”
Richarlison’s equaliser was the first goal City had conceded from open play in the league since a late consolation from Callum Hudson-Odoi in a 3-1 win at Chelsea on January 3.
For Guardiola, the most pleasing aspect was that they limited Everton – who drew 3-3 with Manchester United at Old Trafford and scored five in an FA Cup win over Tottenham last week – to just three attempts.
“Football is not defensive-offensive. You cannot win titles if you are not solid. It’s important we concede few chances. This is the most important thing,” he said.
“We cannot forget this team scored three goals at Old Trafford, five against Tottenham, so it’s a team that has ability up front to create chances. And we conceded few.”