Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola said his side were able to dominate rivals Manchester United in their 2-0 victory at Old Trafford on Saturday by simply keeping them away from the ball with a relentless passing game.
City dominated from start to finish at Old Trafford, with Eric Bailly’s early own goal and Bernardo Silva’s strike just before half time enough to earn Pep Guardiola’s side a first win over their rivals in their last five league meetings.
The scoreline was not a true reflection of City’s superiority. The visitors completed 753 passes in the match – the most any team has made in a Premier League game against United since 2003-04 – when Opta began recording pass data.
“The players deserve my pride, my admiration,” Guardiola said. “We played a really good game from the beginning until the end. The best way to silence Old Trafford is to have the ball, and make pass, pass, pass.
“They have some amazing players, Cristiano (Ronaldo), (Marcus) Rashford, and the only way to stop them is more passes, more passes. We will have a lot of chances in this way, but the chances will be more clear and that will win games.
“We played our game. The players in the middle we have are amazing – Rodri does an exceptional job and Kevin (De Bruyne) is back today in his level. Having the ball like we do is the only way you can control.”
Guardiola refused to be overly critical of a United side who have now lost three of their last four home league games.
“I can never analyse or judge an opponent too much,” he added. “The games have been quite similar the last previous seasons that they beat us.
“They waited for us to make one mistake and they punished us on the counter. They never control the games. Today we were exceptional.”