Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insists his side are still “far away” from where he would like them to be, despite cruising to a 4-0 win over Barnsley at the Academy Stadium in their latest pre-season friendly on Saturday evening.
Goals from Samuel Edozie, Ben Knight, Riyad Mahrez, who claimed his second goal in as many pre-season outings, and Nathan Ake sealed a routine victory for Guardiola’s troops.
Just as he did against Preston North End on Tuesday evening, Guardiola opted to include a mixture of experience and youth in his starting line-up, with Zack Steffen, Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Benjamin Mendy, Fernandinho, Ake and Mahrez the household names included.
Although City made light work of the South Yorkshire outfit, finding themselves three goals to the good just past the half-hour mark, Guardiola is remaining grounded, insisting that he wants to see more from his players moving forward.
As well as that, he also confirmed that more players will report back for pre-season training over the next few days and that preparations for next Saturday’s FA Community Shield clash against Leicester City will soon intensify.
“We are far away still [from where City want to be],” admitted Guardiola, speaking post-match. “It is normal that there are a lot of things to improve.
“Tomorrow we have training and on Tuesday we have another game [against Blackpool] and then we will prepare for the final.
“Every training session, including tomorrow, two or three more players will come back again for their first training session and at the end of the week another one will come back.
“Step by step everyone is starting to come back.”
Although City have won both of their opening two pre-season outings, scoring six goals without reply in the process, Guardiola is refusing to get carried away, although he admits “good things” have come from the wins over Preston and Barnsley.
“It is just pre-season,” added the City boss. “We cannot take many conclusions from that. What is important is that we have had no injuries, good things have happened, things have to improve and that is the most important thing.”
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