After registering an emphatic 5-2 win against Southampton in the Premier League clash on Wednesday, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola admitted that Ralph Hasenhuttl's side was the best team -- in the initial phase -- they have faced so far in the season.
The table-toppers struggled to control the attacking Southampton in the first half and as a result, lost the lead in the 25th minute as James War-Prowse's penalty cancelled out Kevin De Bryune's goal.
For City, De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez each scored a brace while Ilkay Gundogan netted the goal in the injury time of the first half. Che Admas was the other scorer for Southampton.
"The first 20 to 25 minutes, they were the best team we've faced here. Only respect and admiration for Ralph [Hasenhuttl's] team," Goal.com quoted Guardiola as saying after the game.
City moved 14 points clear at the top of the table as they got back to winning ways after their 21-game winning streak was ended by Manchester United on Sunday.
"We suffered a lot to control them. We could not do good build-up because we could not contact with the holding midfielders. They were brilliant and today was won why the quality of the players we have. A tough game but one more victory. One game more we are 14 clear, nine games to play so Fulham -- next one," the City boss said.
City need six victories from their remaining nine matches to be certain of a third Premier League title in four years. They will next take on Fulham on Sunday.
( With inputs from ANI )
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