West Ham 0 Man City 5: Pep Guardiola finds fault with ‘sloppy’ Blues despite five-goal win at London Stadium

The Catalan coach saw his side open their Premier League title defence in style, but feels there is still much room for improvement from the champions

Pep Guardiola saw Manchester City start their Premier League title defence with a 5-0 mauling of West Ham, but still considered their display to have been “sloppy” at times.

City opened the new campaign as they finished the last, with a 15th successive win collected in the English top flight.

Their manager was able to take positives from the result, with Raheem Sterling netting a hat-trick in a contest which delivered VAR controversy on its introductory weekend.

Quizzed afterwards on whether he was happy with City’s day, Guardiola told reporters: “In terms of the result, yes.

“I cannot deny I am delighted for the first game. After winning the last 14 games of last season, that’s 15 now. It is good.”

Pressed on whether the performance pleased him, the Catalan added: “No.

“In the first half we were sloppy with our passes, we were not precise. But that’s normal. The first game, away, 12.30 kick-off, hot. It’s normal.

“In the second half, from the beginning we were better, more calm, more passes. After 3-0, the game was over.”

Raheem Sterling, Man City

City were made to wait for their third goal of the afternoon, with technology chalking off what Gabriel Jesus thought was his second of the afternoon.

Sterling was adjudged to have drifted fractionally offside in the build up to the goal and Guardiola admits VAR is going to take some getting used to, with added pressure being introduced.

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With Sterling seeing his second goal of a treble checked and Sergio Aguero converting a retaken penalty that he initially missed, Guardiola added: “We had to be strong because at 3-0 we can say the game is almost over.

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“But then it is 0-2 and Ederson is having to make amazing saves to stop it being 1-2. In this league, anything can happen. So you have to be 100 per cent ready, always be focused.

“My only wish is that VAR does not make mistakes. Please. If it is offside, it is offside. If it is hand, it is hand. Rules and rules. No problem. That is OK. My only concern is when VAR makes mistakes. But I think this will be more fair.”

Finally, when asked if City can improve, with others expected to challenge them again for domestic dominance in 2019-20, Guardiola said: “We have to.”

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