Belfast Telegraph

Guardiola impressed by his City slickers - particularly De Bruyne

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola was left struggling to find the words to describe Kevin De Bruyne's performance after the Belgian delivered another star turn in the 4-1 thrashing of Tottenham.

De Bruyne scored a goal, won a penalty and did plenty more besides at the Etihad Stadium as City extended their record Premier League winning streak to 16 games and moved 14 points clear at the top of the table.

As he hailed an "outstanding" display from his team, Guardiola had special praise for De Bruyne, who he lauded for his efforts both with and without the ball and said "helps us to be a better club".

"I just can say thank you to all my players, and especially Kevin, for the fact that (he is) one of the most talented players, and you see him, how he runs without the ball," Guardiola said.

"He is a good example for the young players, for our academy, for Phil Foden, for Brahim (Diaz).

"They know how good Kevin De Bruyne is and when they see how he runs and fights without the ball, that is the best example.

"He helps us to be a better club, a better institution for the future, because that is what we want to do.

"His performance today... I have no words to describe what he has done with the ball.

"And overall, without the ball, he is able to make pressure from 40 metres to the goalkeeper. And when that happens, the people who are behind him think 'if that guy runs like this, I have to run as well'."

Ilkay Gundogan put the hosts 1-0 up in the first half and after De Bruyne doubled the lead with a fine finish in the 70th minute, City substitute Gabriel Jesus fired a spot-kick against the post. Raheem Sterling then netted twice inside the last 10 minutes, before Christian Eriksen replied in stoppage-time.

Guardiola, who branded tackles on De Bruyne by Dele Alli and Sterling by Harry Kane that earned each Spurs man a booking as "dangerous", said: "We made an outstanding performance.

"We scored four goals, we created a (great) amount of chances against one of strongest and best teams and the best coaches in the world, so we are so satisfied - for the mentality. After winning 15 games, (it was) another one.

"And that means without the ball. People have to look at us, how good we are with the ball - but without the ball there is energy."

With their 16th successive league victory, Guardiola's City have now matched the run he oversaw as Barcelona boss - but they are still three short of his personal best, achieved with Bayern Munich.

Guardiola added when asked about those runs: "Of course I am proud - I don't want to be humble right now, I'm proud with my staff. I think we work a lot.

"I was with three amazing clubs. Without good players and clubs supporting your ideas, it is impossible to achieve these kind of things."

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, whose side are 21 points behind City in seventh, was keen to stress he could take some positives from the game despite his disappointment.

"The better team won. They are in very good form, showing why they are the best in the Premier League," Pochettino said.

"Yes, 4-1 is a result where you are so disappointed - and you can say nothing positive, because that is the mentality in football.

"But for me, it is to take some positive, about the unbelievable experience for the team, and to realise to play for the Premier League we need to improve, learn and work harder than before."

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