Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola stopped short of saying sorry, but did express concern for counterpart Maurizio Sarri after reflecting on their 6-0 destruction on Sunday.
Any doubts people may have had that City were ready to go all guns blazing in their title defence were swept aside in emphatic fashion as Sergio Aguero led from the front with a hat-trick, as Chelsea were handed their biggest league defeat since a 7-0 thrashing at the hands of Nottingham Forest in April 1991.
City boss Guardiola empathises with his counterpart, pointing to his own occasional difficulties in implementing his ideas when he first arrived in the north-west three years ago.
The Spaniard, who had expressed surprise at how easily his side found it against Chelsea, said: “I know exactly what he wants to do. This kind of person or this type of game always helps to make our football better. He wants to try to do that.
“People don’t understand how difficult the first year can be. Mine was difficult too. People expect with a new manager and buying players it comes immediately, but it needs time.”
Aguero’s 11th Premier League hat-trick equalled Alan Shearer’s record, Raheem Sterling bagged a brace while Ilkay Gundogan was also on the score-sheet as City moved back to the top of the table in scintillating fashion.
The victory was City’s third in the space of eight days since a surprise defeat at Newcastle, leaving Guardiola understandably delighted.
Guardiola added: “The players were outstanding. I just said to them thank you for what they have done.
“After Newcastle we spoke to each other and put ourselves in front of a mirror, and accepted the reality. After that we worked, moved forward.
“We are there, we are the leaders, but Liverpool have one more game (in hand).”
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