Pep Guardiola declared Manchester City’s 5-0 demolition of Sporting the “dream result” but insisted his team can play even better after they emphatically put one foot into the Champions League quarter-finals.
Guardiola praised his side’s ruthlessness as they emphatically put one foot into the Champions League quarter-finals – they scored five goals from six shots on target – but he insisted some players had underperformed. The result is City’s joint-biggest away win in the competition, matching their 5-0 victory at Steaua Bucharest in 2016-17.
“The result is a dream, but the performance we can do better,” Guardiola said. “I am absolutely more than delighted. We were so clinical when we arrived to the goal. We have a duty as a manager and team to analyse.”
City made light work of breaching the best defence in Portugal, sailing into a four-goal lead inside 44 minutes but Bernardo Silva, who scored twice, said they were far from their best. “In the first half we weren’t that good,” he said. “We were a bit sloppy. You need some luck to score that many goals from few chances.”
Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring from close range on seven minutes before Silva doubled their advantage with a stunning half-volley. Phil Foden scored City’s third and Silva added a fourth before the interval following a fine run by Raheem Sterling, who added a spectacular fifth after the break, curling in from the edge of the box. Silva also had a second‑half headed goal, which would have sealed his hat-trick, disallowed for offside.
Guardiola said João Cancelo was among those guilty of losing possession and misplacing simple passes but was effusive in his praise of Silva, who took his tally to 10 goals for the season. “I always push him and say: ‘You need to score more goals.’ He has everything, the ability to score more and to score in his city that he loves, [he joined] from the rivals Benfica, I am pretty sure that he is happy.
“Bernardo is unique. First as a person, his mum and dad have to be so proud because he’s a lovely, lovely person. He’s so generous whether he plays or doesn’t play. He doesn’t just play football, he understands the game. There are players that play good with the ball but he understands every action, like few in the world [do]. I hope he stays at Manchester City for many, many years but he and the club will decide.”
City continue their Premier League title defence at home to Tottenham on Saturday. Sporting will visit the Etihad Stadium for the return leg on 9 March. Silva said: “There is still a job to do in Manchester. We cannot relax.”