Pep Guardiola admitted that his Manchester City players “struggled” at certain points during their 2-0 victory over Newcastle United.
After drawing against Nottingham Forest and RB Leipzig, Man City managed to return to winning ways against AFC Bournemouth and Bristol City.
City went into Saturday’s game against Newcastle United needing a win to put pressure on league leaders Arsenal ahead of their home game versus Bournemouth later in the day.
Guardiola’s side got off to the perfect start at the Etihad as Phil Foden fired them in front after just 15 minutes. The England international smashed the ball home after he smartly dribbled into the penalty.
Newcastle had a few openings of their own after that but they spurned their chances. Man City punished them in the second half as Bernardo Silva doubled their lead shortly after coming off the bench.
This 2-0 win closes the gap between City and Arsenal to just two points, though this reduced deficit will be shortlived if Mikel Arteta’s side pick up all three points against Bournemouth.
Guardiola said post-match that Newcastle “will be a threat for the title in the next few years”.
“Bernado [Silva] had the ability to help us have long possessions or make the possessions longer. He had the ability to keep the ball and make the extra pass because in that moment the game was broken,” Guardiola told BT Sport.
“It was better for Newcastle. We didn’t want the game in transitions so that’s why Bernado was the idea. It works and we won so it’s perfect.
“The game started and they were better, we struggled to build-up, we made some changes during the first half and after the brilliant action from Phil [Foden], we had the game in our hands, we didn’t suffer.
“The first minutes of the second half were good but then we lost the game and Bernado helped us to come back. Their threat is not a surprise, there is a reason why they were in the Carabao Cup final and for a lot of minutes they were better than United.
“This team and this club in the next few years will be a threat for the title.”
On Foden: “His commitment without the ball, both him and Jack [Grealish]… Of course, it was a deflected goal but the aggression to go in is something we’ve missed a little bit this season. Now it is what we need to feel.
“In these positions, in that part of the goal, you have to be aggressive like he was for the goal.”
Silva meanwhile admitted that Man City have “slipped in weird ways in weird games” this season.
“Throughout this season we have had very good moments. And then for one reason or another we’ve slipped in weird ways in weird games. We’re trying to get back to the momentum where the team feels good and that it is in a good run,” Silva said.
“Step-by-step and game-by-game, today was a very important win for us because this Newcastle side is a very tough one.
“I prefer to be first, it’s much better [than second]. Arsenal are in a much better position than us, but we’re going to try and control just what we can. If we focus too much on if they will slip or not, we will slip ourselves.”