Pep Guardiola has sarcastically claimed that Manchester City’s stunning run of success is down to nothing but money.
City chalked up their 19th successive win in all competitions – a record for an English top-flight side – as they eased to a 2-0 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday.
With manager Guardiola having close to a fully-fit squad available, the Premier League leaders look formidable and quadruple talk does not seem misplaced.
Guardiola has had to deal with accusations throughout his career that his successes at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now City are largely down to the good fortune of having star-studded playing rosters.
Yet rather than seek to deny it, Guardiola has decided to overlook over the factors behind his achievements and play up to the cynics.
Asked to explain the reasons behind the winning run, the Spaniard provided a simple answer after the game in Budapest’s Puskas Arena.
“We have a lot of money to buy a lot of incredible players,” he said. “All the time we win for the money – that is true. Without good quality players we cannot do it.”
There was certainly no doubting the quality of a lot of their play as they outclassed the Bundesliga side in the Hungarian capital.
Joao Cancelo, ostensibly playing at left-back but operating more as a midfield playmaker, was outstanding and it was from his crosses that both goals came.
Bernardo Silva headed home the opener on 29 minutes before setting up the second for Gabriel Jesus after the hour mark with a cushioned header from another Cancelo delivery.
Defensively City were again rock solid. Their clean sheet was their 24th of the campaign, surpassing their tally for the entire 2019-20 season.
Guardiola said: “We have been incredibly solid and we’ve won 19 games in a row but, for the team, everything is involved.
“For the defenders to concede just one (shot) on target, you have to earn this, all of them, because you made an incredible effort up front with Rash (Sterling), Phil (Foden), Gabriel, Bernardo, (Ilkay) Gundogan, everyone.
“That is why the opponents come in those positions and have difficult problems. That’s why we defend well. Football is not attack and defence, it is all together.”
Guardiola’s only complaint was a lack of cutting edge up front but, with Sergio Aguero returning for the final 10 minutes and Kevin De Bruyne remaining on the bench, City approach the final straight with firepower.
“We made everything to arrive in the right moment to dribble and shoot and we didn’t dribble and shoot,” said Guardiola.
“That is what we have to improve for the next games, starting in three days.”
City are next in action as they face West Ham in the Premier League at 12.30 on Saturday.