Pep Guardiola seemed in awe of his Manchester City side as they breezed past reigning Premier League champions Chelsea on Sunday at the Etihad Stadium.
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Yes, they only won 1-0, but City were superior in every department and should have won by a more comfortable margin as they now need four wins to guarantee the title.
Pep’s side set a new Premier League record for the most passes completed (209) in a single game, as Chelsea looked frightened to attack and sat back in a 5-4-1 formation.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Guardiola was asked if he thought it was possible to be 18 points clear at the top and set to break several records this season.
“Before? No way. No way, no. Who could believe it? I think if you ask the players, the players neither,” Guardiola said. “In terms of not just the results but the way we played, today was another demonstration. Same desire as at Stamford Bridge. That is what pleases me the most. To have the distance, 25 to Chelsea, 33 to Arsenal, 18 to Tottenham is a lot. Tottenham, Liverpool and United they made a good result, a good pace. We are so far so good in terms of we drop points but after a lot of wins in a row but especially I think it is a consequence of the way we play today. The way we play today is a bit similar to what we have done.”
City are on course to set a new record for the most points won in a season, the most goals scored and the largest-ever winning margin.
Is that something they think about?
“What really matters is to be champions. I never spoke with the players about the records,” Guardiola said. “I never spoke we have to win the two games to achieve something. Stoke we are going to try and play like we play all season. After, at the end, we will see. Of course, but not we are going to play for the records. Records are always a consequence of what you have done but they are not the main thing.”
The ease with which they brushed Chelsea aside was astonishing (albeit helped by the Blues’ incredibly defensive setup from the get-go) and proved just how much of a fear factor there is around City right now.
Pep knows his plans are now all slotting into place after 18 months on the job and although he has spent huge sums of cash on new players, you can’t deny that he is