Published On: Sun, Aug 21st, 2016

Guardiola 'surprised' by City's early progress

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Just three matches into the Pep Guardiola era, Manchester City is beginning to show a cohesion and competitiveness that trickled away under the Spaniard’s predecessor, Manuel Pellegrini.

City impressively won at Stoke City by a 4-1 scoreline on Saturday, following its season-opening 2-1 defeat of Sunderland, and 5-0 midweek thumping of Steaua Bucharest in the away leg of their Champions League play-off.

Related: Aguero double inspires City stroll

“It is impossible to say what is our target or what we can achieve but in the short time together and the way they have showed we play in the last two games, they show me how intelligent they are,” said Guardiola.

“They are really good players. They have a lot of quality and that’s why they can show it here in one of the toughest games in the Premier League (in Stoke) – at least that’s what the people told me about that – in the conditions when it is windy and the pitch is slow.”

Sergio Aguero scored a brace in the opening stanza, and substitute Nolito‘s repeat of that feat late in the second-half stamped out Bojan Krkic‘s 49th-minute consolation.

“We saw again amazing team spirit, how they communicate with each other, how they celebrate the goals, how they celebrate after the game with our fans. That is the first step to improve,” Guardiola continued. “After that we have to improve many things. I am surprised in the short time the level they play in Bucharest and today.”

One of the most promising aspects of the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich gaffer’s tenure so far is the re-emergence of Raheem Sterling, following his abject performances toward the end of last season, and at Euro 2016 with England.

Under Guardiola, Sterling has been integral during build-up play and has used his pace down the channels to great affect.

City faces the formality of the second leg versus Steaua on Wednesday, before returning to domestic duty with a visit from West Ham United on Aug. 28.

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