Pep Guardiola: Man City need to improve attacking to have title hopes
BRIGHTON -- Pep Guardiola was relieved to avoid an opening day setback like defending champions Chelsea but insists Manchester City need to improve their attacking if they are to challenge for the title.
City kicked off the season with a 2-0 win at newly promoted Brighton but they were left frustrated when they couldn't find a breakthrough in the opening 70 minutes.
Sergio Aguero finally smashed City into the lead before they added a second when Brighton defender Lewis Dunk headed into his own net.
"Before the Sergio goal we had chances in the first half and the second half and in these sort of games when teams defend with 10 players, deeper, deeper it's so important to score the first goal," Guardiola told a news conference.
"After the first one it was a little bit easier but the first game is always a little bit complicated. We saw what happened in many [other] games. Especially with a newly promoted team when they have the passion, the fans and no pressure. It was difficult but we did it.
"We were stable, we concede just one shot after one corner and after that nothing happened. But we have to improve.
"We attacked too slowly we have to be a little bit quicker and a little bit more precise with more accuracy in our passes."
Guardiola started with a back-three and they were rarely troubled as City dominated possession with 78 percent of the ball.
The City boss was delighted with that control and also praised his side's persistence and hard work to fight their way to the three points.
"We run a lot," he said. "People say we are a big team but we run like a League One or a Conference team. You don't see one player on my team that doesn't run. That is when I am proud.
"It is all I demand of my players and when you see Sergio and Gabriel run backwards and Kevin and David, that is the first step to creating something.
"Last season we did run a lot and we did many good things but we weren't good in the boxes. Today our box was perfect and in the opponents box we scored two goals but we created more. Hopefully in the future we can be more accurate in those terms."
Brighton boss Chris Hughton was proud of his side but felt they tired towards the end as City's class showed in the final 20 minutes.
"It is disappointing but that is the quality Manchester City have got and we know that," he said. "We can take a lot of positives from the game. When you are playing Champions League-quality teams, you know that they can hurt you. It was always going to be difficult for us to score.
"We have to make sure that come the end of the window, we have a squad that can do well enough in this division. We have to win the games that we can do."
Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.