Pep Guardiola felt Manchester City were flattered by their margin of victory in Saturday’s 4-0 triumph at West Ham.
The Premier League champions are unbeaten 13 games into their title defence, with their 11th win maintaining a two-point lead over Liverpool at the top of the table.
David Silva’s fourth goal in as many games got City up and running before Raheem Sterling scored his seventh of the season in the top flight.
Leroy Sane’s brace completed a comprehensive victory, but West Ham – playing under former Etihad Stadium boss Manuel Pellegrini – showed attacking ambition throughout and hit the post through Michail Antonio.
“We give a lot of credit for victory, but it was not the best performance and we were a little lucky,” Guardiola told a post-match news conference.
“We arrived a few times and scored, whereas West Ham did the same many times and didn’t score – but I am sure we will be back soon to where we normally are.
“The most important thing is that after what we achieved last season, we are still consistent and humble.
“Our passing wasn’t great, but in terms of how we run without the ball it was fantastic.”
Guardiola credited his players for remaining focused on their return from the international break, with City’s result cutting a contrast to the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United, who were beaten 3-0 by Eibar and held 0-0 at home to Crystal Palace respectively.
“After an international break you can easily drop points, but the players came back at the same level and that’s why I am so satisfied for the victory, even though the performance could have been better,” he added.
“If you see the results after the international break, it’s good. We saw the results for Madrid and United.”
Pellegrini echoed his City successor’s thoughts on the game and lamented West Ham’s first-half defending.
“It’s difficult, when you lose a game 4-0 [to say] that you have positive things, but the three goals we conceded in the first half were not acceptable defending. They were very easy crosses inside the box without marking,” he told reporters.
“Normally, Manchester City create a lot of chances, but they scored three goals and they hadn’t created a lot of chances.
“We created as much as Manchester City created and had clear chances to score, but we didn’t score.
“These games, playing in this way, will help us to improve more than playing as a small team just trying not to concede goals, but when you play against big teams without important players, you cannot make mistakes.”