Pep Guardiola admits that “the finishing was wasteful” in Manchester City’s 2-0 win over Fulham, with there still room for improvement from a side looking to recapture the Premier League title.
The Blues eased their way to another three points on home soil against the Cottagers, with the damage done inside 26 minutes.
Raheem Sterling opened the scoring before going on to win a record-setting penalty that allowed Kevin De Bruyne to double City’s lead.
The margin of victory could have been considerably greater for Guardiola’s side, as they fired in 16 efforts on goal, but they were able to collect three points and another clean sheet.
“We struggled at the beginning of the season for many reasons. Now four games, four clean sheets. It's so important for us to maintain this solidity,” Guardiola told BBC Sport.
“The finishing was wasteful. We know we have to improve this, but it's important to keep creating the chances. In the last 20 minutes we lost too many simple balls, which is a problem. We have to do the simple things better. That is the next step.
“Sterling scored a goal and won a penalty. It's important for the players up front to be scoring goals.
“This season looks like there will be a lot of teams in contention. Everyone can beat everyone. In this month it was important to get qualification for the Champions League, now we focus on the Premier League. It will be a long season.”
City stumbled out of the blocks in 2020-21, with attacking struggles and defensive mistakes hindering their cause, but they have looked more like their old selves of late.
Guardiola is pleased to see progress, telling BT Sport: “It's important to get a good run of points. For the chances we had, yes [we should have scored more], but it was the same in Porto.
“It's important that we won and that defenders don't make mistakes and we don't gift goals.
“It's important to win games and clean sheets are a good fact, especially with the amount of chances we created again.
“The Fulham physicality was impressive. Scott Parker always has something tricky, you know, he did well against Leicester. Now everyone can beat everyone. That's why it's important for the victory and no injuries to go into the Champions League with fresh players.
“We have to wait until the end of the weekend but what's important is the feeling in the team. We will improve.”
City now have the Premier League leaders within their sights but, with Liverpool and Tottenham in action on Sunday, know that they still have work to do in order to secure domestic supremacy once more.