Pep hails ‘humble’ City

Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola

MANCHESTER. — Pep Guardiola saluted his “humble” Manchester City stars after the red-hot English Premier League soccer leaders hammered Tottenham 4-1 on Saturday night to make it 16 successive wins.

Guardiola’s side surged 14 points clear at the top as Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne scored before Raheem Sterling’s late brace capped their latest breathtaking display.

City’s astonishing success in the first half of the season has turned the title race into a procession, earning Guardiola and his players numerous plaudits for putting together such a record-breaking campaign.

But, while Guardiola is delighted with City’s form, the Spaniard says he is more impressed by the way his team are willing to do the dirty work required to succeed at the highest level.

“It was solid, good, against one team demanding to be intense without the ball. They have good quality, but we played really good to beat one of the strongest teams in the Premier League,” Guardiola said.

“Without the ball we are a humble team. The performance of Kevin De Bruyne, you cannot imagine how good he plays with the ball, but he runs like a player in the Conference league.

“It makes it easier for the manager and the club.”

City had set a new Premier League record with their 15th win in a row in midweek and now they have their sights set on surpassing Guardiola’s personal best of 19 successive league wins with Bayern Munich.

Praising the club’s Abu Dhabi-based owners for allowing him to assemble such a talented team, Guardiola said: “We are on a good streak.

“Since August we are so happy and I admire the most the way we play without the ball — thank you to the club to provide me with these amazing players.”

Guardiola also said De Bruyne incarnated Manchester City’s future after the Belgian’s sublime display inspired his side to an emphatic victory over Tottenham Hotspur.

De Bruyne smashed in City’s second goal on Saturday and had a hand in their third, scored by Sterling, who went on to complete a brace as City registered a record-extending 16th successive Premier League win.

De Bruyne’s hurtful passing repeatedly tore holes in the Spurs defence and Guardiola said that ability on the ball, allied to his exemplary work-rate, made him a figurehead for the club’s young players.

“Kevin is one of the most talented players and you see how he runs without the ball,” said the City manager.

“You cannot imagine how good he plays with the ball, but he runs like a player in the Conference (semi-professional) league.

“It’s a good example for the young players, for our academy, for Phil Foden, for Brahim (Diaz). They know how good Kevin De Bruyne is. And when they see how he runs and he fights without the ball, that is the best example.

“He helps us to be a better club, a better institution for the future. Because that is what we want to do. His performance today, I have no words.” — Reuters

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