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“AFTER the international break, the season starts properly,” said Pep Guardiola last month and as his Manchester City side put three past Fulham at Eastlands yesterday, these words were put into action.
Goals from Leroy Sane, David Silva and Raheem Sterling saw the home side ease to victory despite some encouraging periods of play from the newly promoted side.
Guardiola was full of praise for the opposition and he thinks they will remain in the Premier League.
“Today, after the international break, could have been so dangerous because Fulham asked a lot of us,” said the Manchester City manager.
“They have courage and personality. That is why they are in the Premier League. I like to watch these kind of teams. I’m sure they will be in the Premier League next season.”
Slavisa Jokanovic’s side do look good on paper and aren’t too shabby on the pitch either. Names such as Andre Schurrle, Luciano Vietto and Jean Michel Seri are known across Europe, and Ryan Sessegnon is one of the most promising young talents in English football.
But Manchester City often do well against teams that try to play football as opposed to scrappy opposition who defend throughout, and that was the case here.
Fulham began brightly, winning a corner in the first minute, but disruption in their defence as the centre backs trotted back from the set-piece led to a mistake which was ruthlessly punished.
Seri under-hit a pass to Denis Odoi who lost his footing, allowing Fernandinho to intercept. The Brazilian advanced before presenting Sane with an easy chance to score on his return to the starting 11.
Silva made it two midway through the first-half, lifting a right-footed shot off the underside of the bar after an initial effort from Sergio Aguero was blocked.
Manchester City then scored two minutes into the second half, just as they had done in the first. Aguero found himself on the right wing and beat Alfie Mawson for pace before crossing for Sterling to tap in.
Both Sterling and Aguero were substituted as Guardiola was able to turn his thoughts to Wednesday’s Champions League encounter with Lyon. Gabriel Jesus replaced the Argentinian and had a couple of good chances but couldn’t find the net.
Bernardo Silva was excellent throughout, though he should also have added a fourth from Jesus’s pass, but scooped his shot over the bar.
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