Pep Guardiola explains where Manchester City struggled in 5-0 win over Sporting & hails ‘perfect’ Silva

The Manchester City manager felt the scoreline in Portugal flattered his side.

Pep Guardiola felt his side could have performed better in the 5-0 win over Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday night.

Goals from Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva (2), Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling ensured Manchester City came away from Portugal with a huge first-leg advantage from their Champions League last-16 tie.

But despite the convincing scoreline, Guardiola highlighted a few areas where his side were lacking against Sporting.

The City manager was also asked about Bernardo Silva’s display and his side’s defensive record in the post-match press conference. Here are the best bits of what he had to say.

Manchester City were 4-0 up at half-time in Lisbon. Credit: Getty.

Pleased with result but performance could have been better

“Don’t misunderstand me. I am more than delighted. I know how difficult this competition is. 5-0 is fantastic, but today we were so clinical, arrive goal, arrive goal, arrive goal and when that happens it is difficult for the opponent.

“But we didn’t do our build up well. The space was on the left and it wasn’t good. Joao [Cancelo] missed a lot of balls. We cannot allow them to make transitions because they are so dangerous.

“Just look at the first five minutes with the switch of play and runners. But we defended well and we got an incredible result. But we have a duty as a manager and as a team to analyse exactly how we performed individually and collectively. Not just the result. The result is a dream but we can perform better.”

Super Silva starts against Sporting

“I tell Bernardo he is a perfect player, so intuitive, he can run 12/13 kilometres. But with sense, not just run and run. And with the ball today he was more than exceptional. Today, the goal he scored was one of the best I have ever seen with the technique.

“Hopefully he can gain confidence [from that]. This is his hometown, and he loves this country of course. He was a Benfica supporter, he loves Benfica and of course to beat a rival in that way is special for him.”

Silva was superb in the win over Sporting Lisbon. Credit: Getty.

City’s defensive record

"Not just in the Champions League, but in the Premier League we always concede few. We concede so few shots on target in every game. This is important.

“I think this is the perspective you have to have. But I say the same, we are not a team that defend well. If you analyse individually we are not defenders, we are an offensive team in most departments.

“We defend with the ball; we have to take care of the ball better than today. One of the principle rules I have is when you have the ball, try and pass the ball to the guy who has the same t-shirt.

“When they are alone and they lose the ball it makes no sense, and today that happened many times. The difference between both teams is not 5-0. Today it was because we were so clinical.

“We arrived and scored and when that happens it is mentally difficult for the opponent, you get confidence and you are more relaxed. Sometimes football is margins, if the first goal, if it is offside.

“Sometimes you win games for this and all the analysis is how good one team is, how bad the other one is but it is the margin. Maybe you have this duty and you have another one is to see how they perform individually and the team and the plan depends on how they play if we execute it as well or not.

“Don’t misunderstand me, it is a dream, a perfect result and so good for the second leg. But we can do better."

Trying to better last season

“We make almost the perfect Champions League last season. We played 13 or 14 games, we won 12, drew one and we lost the final. And that was ‘aw, what a f**king failure’. But it was not true and we made a perfect Champions League. But in the Champions League final we didn’t perform as we normally would and that’s why against Chelsea [we lost]. The margin in the Champions League final is in the details. That’s why I’m not going to hide behind the 5-0.”