Pep Guardiola was delighted with the fighting spirit his Manchester City team showed as they edged past Burnley 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium.
City had won their previous four home games against Burnley 5-0, but the visitors caused Guardiola’s men some problems after Bernardo Silva opened the scoring.
That was Silva’s seventh goal involvement against Burnley in eight Premier League outings – his most against any one opponent – but did not trigger the sort of landslide scoreline that was anticipated.
However, Kevin De Bruyne scored in a second consecutive City match 20 minutes from time to secure a ninth straight victory over Burnley in all competitions.
Although City now have six clean sheets in eight league games this season and struggling Burnley are winless in 11 in the competition, Guardiola acknowledged his team had been in a battle.
“We run and fight for every ball,” he told BBC Sport. “Burnley play for long balls and they’re a master at this.
“You have to defend set pieces well, and anything could have happened if Chris Wood had scored that goal near the end. We had chances but couldn’t score more, unfortunately.
“The importance is improving our game. I am satisfied that the second half was better than first. The team showed me the way we want to play and the shape we want to play in.
“All the guys gave everything. It doesn’t matter if the performance is good or not; it’s important that you fight for your team-mates, and everyone was incredible.”
9 – Manchester City have won each of their last nine games against Burnley across all competitions by an aggregate scoreline of 32-1. Exhibition.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 16, 2021
Guardiola brought in John Stones and Raheem Sterling for rare starts following the international break and said both “played really well”.
He added: “It was a difficult game. I tried to tell them to forget about the previous 5-0s, because Burnley always fight and never give up.
“They are able to go to any stadium and create a problem and know what they have to do, so I give a lot of credit to them today.”
Silva, whose goal came from one of three shots while he also created three chances, said: “[It was] very hard. We know how tough it is to play against Burnley.
“We started well, the first 20 minutes were good. Then the rhythm was a bit low, we should have scored a few more goals in the first half.
“We know how tough it is, they play very direct, they’re a very physical side.
“In the second half, we controlled the game well. We should have scored a bit earlier again. But it’s three very important points and onto the next one.”
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