Pep Guardiola says Manchester City’s players have nothing to prove after they returned to winning ways in the Premier League with a record 8-0 win over Watford on Saturday.
The reigning champions slipped to a shock defeat at Norwich City last weekend but were in sumptuous form against the Hornets, racing into a five-goal lead inside the opening 18 minutes.
Three more goals in the second half gave City their biggest ever top-flight win as they closed the gap to leaders Liverpool to two points, although Jurgen Klopp’s side do have a game in hand.
Some questioned City’s ability to win a third consecutive title after the defeat at Carrow Road, but Guardiola believes there has been an overreaction to that loss.
He told BBC’s Match of the Day: “Do you think after what these guys have done for two seasons they have to prove something?
“We listened after Norwich, but people don’t understand that we can lose games. Sometimes I am surprised that former players and pundits still don’t understand that.”
Bernardo Silva struck the first top-flight hat-trick of his career in the win and Guardiola was full of praise for the man he describes as last season’s stand-out performer.
“Bernardo was the best player last season,” he added. “He was extraordinary. I don’t think he needs to score three goals to get the credit he deserves.”
Watford, meanwhile, remain bottom of the league with just two points from their opening six games.
Quique Sanchez Flores, who returned to the club for a second spell ahead of last weekend’s draw with Arsenal, attributed the heavy loss to a litany of errors from his side.
“We made a lot of mistakes,” he said. “The result is very difficult [to take], but it’s the consequences of mistakes in different ways. All the goals we conceded came from different things and it’s difficult to play like this against Manchester City.
“We will take the best things from the Arsenal game and try to solve all the things from this game.”
Goalkeeper Ben Foster went further, admitting that the scale of defeat was humbling for the Hornets.
“It’s probably a bit of shock, embarrassment,” Foster said to Sky Sports.
“I think we let ourselves down today and the fans a bit. The fans were giving it everything, all they’ve got. Unfortunately, we on the pitch didn’t give it all we have got.
“As a keeper coming to City and Liverpool, if you let five in in 20 minutes you fear the worst, you think cricket scores.
“They are without doubt the best team I have ever played against. We were poor, didn’t lay a glove on them, but at times it was breathtaking watching them.
“You come away to City and I’m not joking, you come here and think if you keep it to two or three – they are so good. Them and Liverpool are a different level.
“We didn’t do our job today. We have to take some positives but that’s football. You have to clean yourselves up, move onto the next one.
“We have a few experienced lads but you have to keep smiling. I have just let eight in. I’m not happy but it is what it is. There is no point in dwelling, get ready for the next game and get ready.”