Pep Guardiola claimed Manchester City’s performance in their 5-1 away win against Club Brugge was one of their best ever in the Champions League.
City were utterly dominant against their Belgian opposition, who showed flashes of talent but struggled to impose themselves on the game. The reigning Premier League champions cruised into a 4-0 lead before Brugge pulled one back, but a fifth goal late on added some gloss to scoreline.
Guardiola named a very strong side despite facing the lowest ranked team in the group, and he feels it significantly paid off.
In his post-match interview, he said: “One of the best performances we have done in Europe, definitely.
“We found a lot of passes with Phil. We had runners in behind. And we could have scored more goals, we had many chances. All of our us are delighted with the performance we have done.”
The Spanish boss also admitted to taking a very close look at the opposition ahead of the match.
“I looked over Brugge in the international break. I looked at many games and I know how good they did against PSG,” he added.
One of the highlights of the match from a City perspective was a debut Champions League goal for 19-year-old Cole Palmer.
The youngster netted a lovely curled effort just a mere two minutes after coming off the bench. It’s a sight which Guardiola says is a regular occurrence.
“Cole has a special quality in front of the box, a talent that is difficult to find. When he has the ball there, most of the time it ends up in the net. It’s difficult to find that.
“I know how it works with young players. We have to be calm and patient. His position is the second team but at the same time he trains with us and works with our principles.
“I am happy with the goal. He could have done a few actions a little bit better, but that is normal. It is experience.”
Palmer lauded by City team-mate
Palmer’s team-mate, Joao Cancelo, who also got on the scoresheet with the opener, was full of praise for him.
He said: “Cole is a big talent. He is a special player. Phil Foden proves the academy works.
“They are very promising and creating and developing some special nights.”
Guardiola also categorically denied that Palmer would be sent out on loan, saying: “Absolutely not. Today we had 17 players so we don’t have enough. I think he’s going to stay this season with us.”