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Men's Football City back to winning ways as Pep slams congested fixture schedule

Manchester City 3-1 Watford

Manchester City returned to winning ways with a convincing victory against Watford last night, when Raheem Sterling scored the quickest goal of the season so far.

Pep Guardiola’s side had dropped points for the first time in 18 games and also failed to score for the first time in the league this season when they drew 0-0 with Crystal Palace last time out.

Here, however, they wasted no time creating the chances which meant they had the game won within 15 minutes.

Both managers used their post-match press conferences to express concerns about the number of games played during this period, as they feared for their players’ fitness.

“We are going to kill them,” said Guardiola. “The bosses need to reflect [on the schedule]. It’s not normal to play on the 31st and two days later.

“Here in England you don’t protect the players, you have to look for the quality not the quantity.

“Football is not basketball or tennis where you can play every two days. Tradition is tradition but just think about the players, the artists.”

His artists created numerous chances in the first half but only managed to find the back of the net twice. Sterling turned in Leroy Sane’s cross after just 38 seconds, before an undefendable Kevin De Bruyne cross was diverted into his own goal by Christian Kabasele with Sergio Aguero lurking.

Aguero struggled to put away chances but eventually got his goal in the second half when another unstoppable De Bruyne cross was spilled by Heurelho Gomes and the Argentinian slotted home the loose ball.

Watford had a couple of chances, but the best of them, which fell to Andre Gray, was saved expertly by sprawling City goalkeeper Ederson. The visitors did manage to pull a goal back when Andre Carrillo crossed for Gray to score a goal similar to Sterling’s opener, but it was no more than a consolation strike.

Their manager Marco Silva refused to blame individuals for the defeat commenting that, “when we lose, we lose together,” but he also spoke about the tough winter schedule.

“I understand we are here to respect the culture and it’s important for the fans, but I think that for the players these moments are really hard,” he said.

While City are back to winning ways, Watford only have one win in nine and have some work to do in the weeks to come.

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