Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola shouts instructions to his players from the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on May 6, 2017. Oli SCARFF / AFP
Pep Guardiola says Manchester City are the Premier League’s most creative team, but the Spaniard warned his players must show a more ruthless streak despite their 5-0 rout of Crystal Palace.
Guardiola’s side were in prolific form as they thrashed Palace at Eastlands on Saturday to climb to third place, at least until Liverpool play Southampton on Sunday.
However, it was only City’s third win in nine league matches, and their inconsistency this season has left them 12 points adrift of leaders Chelsea with three games to play.
Guardiola believes City would have been worthy champions this season had they been more clinical in front of goal.
And he argued that the only time this season that they have created fewer chances than their opponents was at Tottenham in early October, when City lost 2-0.
“Maybe I remember one game this season where the opponent create more chances. One – at White Hart Lane. The others, no chance,” Guardiola said.
“We are better than all the other teams. Against Chelsea, we create more chances both here and at Stamford Bridge but in the boxes we are not good.
“We are the best team in the Premier League for creating clear chances. We are the best one. But we are not able to score goals.
“The most difficult thing in football, basketball, tennis – in all the sports – is that final moment.”
Without the injured Sergio Aguero, City enjoyed their biggest league victory under Guardiola, with goals from David Silva, Vincent Kompany, Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Nicolas Otamendi.
– Amazing teams –
Yet the manager can cite many examples of games where City did not take their chances and suffered as a result, most notably their 4-0 defeat in January at Everton, who scored their goals with their only four shots on target.
“In the game against Everton, they arrive four times and we lose 4-0. We arrive more times than any other team,” he said.
“You see Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, they create enough chances, similar to us, but they score goals. We’ve miss that this season a lot.”
City are effectively in a three-way fight with Liverpool and Manchester United for the final two Champions League places.
There is, though, the possibility that all three could still qualify, if United win the Europa League and finish fifth.
“Today was important because we are playing for the future of the club,” he said.
“The Premier League is tough. There are four amazing teams fighting for the final two places.
“I hope United can focus on the Europa League and next season we can have five English teams in the Champions League. It will be amazing.”
Palace manager Sam Allardyce was critical of his players, suggesting that they effectively gifted City the win.
Allardyce’s side remain on 38 points after falling to a third successive defeat that kept them from securing their top-flight survival.
“Defensively we made too many mistakes and they punished us heavily,” Allardyce said.
“Our recovery from the first goal was good but we fell into the same shape at the start of the second and it was a bit of a capitulation.
“All five goals could have been avoided if we had defended properly. That is the biggest disappointment.
“Manchester City, normally when they beat you here, produce outstanding skills but we gifted them easy chances to score and they thrashed us.”