Phil Foden declared he and his Manchester City team-mates “had the game of our lives” after Saturday’s straightforward victory over Manchester United.
City eased into a deserved 2-0 lead before half-time at Old Trafford through an Eric Bailly own goal and Bernardo Silva’s toe-poke from a tight angle, and that is how the scoreline remained.
While the reigning Premier League champions did not rack up the five goals managed by Liverpool against United two weeks ago, the manner of the loss was just as chastening for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Red Devils had just four touches in the opposition box – their fewest in a league game since 2008-09 when Opta first began recording such data.
Those four touches were also the fewest by a home team in a Premier League game since Fulham against Arsenal in September 2020.
To further underline City’s dominance, they completed 753 passes – the most any team has completed in a Premier League match against United since 2003-04.
Foden feels it was close to a perfect display from his side at Old Trafford as they returned to winning ways in the league on the back of last week’s shock home loss to Crystal Palace.
“We had the game of our lives today. Everything went right, with a lot of possession and chances. We dominated from start to finish,” he told Sky Sports.
“I’m really pleased. We picked the right moments when in possession to hurt them. We knew we could exploit the space in behind and we picked the right times to do it.
“My team-mates found me a few times in behind and on another day I could have finished the chances. We got in at half-time and said we had to keep up the possession game and I thought we did that really well.
“It gives us massive confidence going into the international break – it was important to get the win before that. It was very important to get back to winning ways.”
City’s eight away wins at Old Trafford in the Premier League era is the most of any side in the competition’s history.
Pep Guardiola’s team toyed with their rivals in the second half, meaning City’s manager had no concern that the scoreline did not accurately reflect his side’s dominance.
“Here at Old Trafford we always produce a good performance in general since we’ve been together,” he told Sky Sports.
“We have won many times here, much more than at any other stadium. It was a solid performance, a good game and deserved victory. Three more points.
“You have to put the ball in the fridge. A lot of passes, a lot of passes. Except 10 minutes in the middle when I thought we lose stupid balls, really good.
“Not scoring more is okay. I am so demanding, we are so demanding for ourselves but I am very pleased. This is the game we needed.”
City ended the game with 67.7 per cent of the possession and had an expected goals value of 1.85, compared to 0.74 for their outclassed opponents.
“United are so dangerous,” Guardiola added. “That is why we had a game with a lot of control. If you let them run at Old Trafford it is a little bit like Anfield. They are built for that.
“We played the game we needed today. You have to play quick, to move the ball and do the touches every player need but also try to put the ball in the pocket.”
Asked where his side now rank in terms of the favourites to win the title, Guardiola said: “Right now, Chelsea are unstoppable.
“We know we cannot drop much points to be close to them but against the big six we have performed well.
“The most important thing is we came to Old Trafford and can say these guys played good. This is what I am happy the most about after six years here. We tried to play our game.”