Man City boss Pep Guardiola described a Southampton favourite as the best he’s seen at one particular aspect of the game, while Raheem Sterling brushed off a common Jurgen Klopp complaint.
Man City earned a hard-fought three points against high flying Southampton at St. Mary’s.
Both sides had an abundance of chances to score, but the first-half goal crafted by Kevin De Bruyne and scored by Sterling would ultimately prove decisive.
Speaking to the BBC after the match, Guardiola said: “We had the momentum in the second half, but we couldn’t score and we nearly suffered.
“They put a lot of players inside; they provoke you to be narrow. It’s difficult. They don’t allow you to be compact, that’s why they are so good. That’s why they’re creating problems.
“They have the best free-kick taker I have seen in my life in [James] Ward-Prowse. Their position in the table, Ralph [Hasenhuttl] is doing an excellent job.
“It’s a good result for us, it will help us a lot going into our EFL Cup game.
“Defensively we were excellent. Last season we struggled a lot. Ruben [Dias] has helped us a lot. John [Stones] the last few games has been exceptional.
“We continue to play more and more to create more chances.
“I’m jealous of Southampton, they can have supporters, we cannot. Everyone can agree we’d love to have fans back. But we have to be alert. We have to be careful.”
Sterling brushes off fixture congestion complaints
Man City’s matchwinner – Raheem Sterling – made light of the controversy that has erupted over fixture congestion.
Initially speaking about the performance, the England forward told the BBC: “It was a tough game, they’ve been doing really well in recent weeks. The message today was to show passion. Show aggression and I think we’ve done that.
“I’m happy to be on the scoresheet but the most important thing was to grind the result out.
“You’ve got to concede as few as possible. We’ve done that, we’ve just got to score a few more at the other end.
“Confidence is a key thing. (Southampton) are very confident at the moment. We’ve boosted our confidence and we’re getting back to a high level.
“We know what we can do on the attacking front. I and a few other attackers need to step up. Hopefully we can do that in the next weeks.”
Regarding fixture congestion – something that has become a particular point of contention for Klopp in recent months – he concluded: “We’re footballers, this is how we like it, we want game after game. I’m happy to play again tomorrow.”