Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola commended his players for overcoming their “fear” in a confident 3-1 derby defeat of Manchester United.
Ilkay Gundogan’s cool 86th-minute effort extinguished any chance of a repeat of the dramatic scenes in April that saw United fight back from a two-goal deficit to prevail 3-2.
City opened the same advantage through David Silva and Sergio Aguero on Sunday, before Anthony Martial breathed life into the contest from the penalty spot.
But the Premier League champions steadied and banished their demons to open a 12-point gap to Jose Mourinho’s men.
“The players wanted to play good in front of our fans. We know how important the game is against United,” Guardiola told Sky Sports.
“We cannot forget in our history we are always behind United.
“It’s completely understandable [to be nervous], especially in that situation with what happened last season, but we reacted well and the goal from Sergio helped us play a lot better.
“Last season when we conceded the first goal we were in chaos a little bit. This time we didn’t concede another chance.
“In the first half we played with a little bit of fear. We didn’t want to lose the ball, but we didn’t attack in the best way. Of course [United] were so deep it’s not easy. They defended well, they were so aggressive man-to-man.
“But we made a good performance in a big game against a top, top team. I’m happy for the result.”
City’s victory took them back above Liverpool, who earlier eased past Fulham.