Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini was quick to praise his players’ character in the wake of their 4-1 League Cup victory over Sunderland.
Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne all found the net, along with a Vito Mannone own goal, within the first 36 minutes at the Stadium of Light, as City outclassed their hosts.
And after back-to-back defeats against Juventus and West Ham, Pellegrini was understandably delighted to get back to winning ways.
“We played well, especially in the first half,” he said. “Maybe in the second half, winning 4-0, we stopped our pace a little bit, but I am pleased because we started this game after two important defeats in the Champions League and Premier League.
“It was important to continue in this cup and it was important to try to win from the first minute.
“We scored four beautiful goals.”
Pellegrini opted to start a host of his big-name players, including Sterling, De Bruyne, Aguero and Yaya Toure.
De Bruyne and Sterling combined superbly to carve open the Sunderland defence repeatedly in the first half, and the Chilean reserved special praise for his two big-name close-season signings.
“Kevin is a very good player and Raheem played very well also,” he added. “It was useful for both players to be settled in our team.
“It is not easy at the beginning to make the correct movements, but both of them demonstrated why they are here.”
The City boss went on to reaffirm his high regard for the League Cup as a competition, although he was also pleased with the chance to give some game time to his youngsters.
“We won this cup two years ago and it is beautiful to play the final at Wembley,” he said. “We will continue to try and play strong squads in this competition.
“We have a lot of players injured so it was not easy to play this game.
“It was important to start with a strong team and then to give minutes to young players during the game.
“Patrick Roberts, George Evans and Manu Garcia are three young players that will be part of our squad for the future.
“The game allowed us to make those substitutions.”