Manchester City kicked off their campaign with a 5-0 victory at West Ham – but Pep Guardiola wasn’t entirely happy with his side.
Raheem Sterling hit a hat-trick as the champions started their title defence in impressive style at the London Stadium.
Boss Guardiola, though, sees plenty of room for improvement having been left unhappy with the team’s first half performance.
“The we played in the first half was not brilliant. We lost a lot of second balls,” said the Spaniard.
“The second half was much better. We are away from where we to be still but 0-5 five is a good start. You see 0-5 and say ‘oh, it is brilliant’ but the way we played in the first half was not.
“If you judge the result, you can write one sentence in the papers but if you analyse the game, we can do better. We saw yesterday how strong are Liverpool. We have to start well.
“Next week we have Tottenham at home, they are a top, top side and it is important for us to be focused. You can listen, you can read whatever you want but I have the truth and I know the position of the team and a good result isn’t going to change my opinion on what it was. Second half was much, much better but the first half we were way off where we want to be.”
Premier League live: Crystal Palace v Everton commentary plus action from 3pm games
On the move?
Neymar axed from PSG squad for season opener with exit talks ‘more advanced’
Pellegrini praises VAR and insists £45m Haller will shine for West Ham
How Man United and Chelsea could line-up with new signings set to feature
Why Everton are wearing last season’s third kit against Crystal Palace
Leigh Griffiths nets brilliant free-kick as Celtic hit Motherwell for five
Sterling hat-trick and VAR drama as Man City thrash West Ham in opening game
Lewis Grabban’s late goal earns Nottingham Forest draw at Leeds
There were several interventions by VAR – introduced to English football this season – at the London Stadium.
Gabriel Jesus became the first player in the Premier League to have a goal chalked off by VAR as Sterling was judged to be offside while Sergio Aguero got to retake a saved penalty, which he then scored, following an encroachment by the Hammers.
In the Champions League against Tottenham last season, a controversial goal from Spurs striker Fernando Llorente was allowed to stand, while Sterling saw an injury-time strike that would have put City through ruled out for offside by VAR.
And Guardiola says Manchester City’s experiences with VAR in Europe last season has helped them cope with its introduction in the Premier League.
“We lost a little bit. You need to know if it is regular or not, after what happened against Tottenham you don’t know,” Guardiola said.
“There was intensity and the passion, but we were not in the semi-finals.
“Now we can control the emotions. It is good mentally because you are thinking ‘0-3, the game is over’.
“But they had an incredible chance and it could go 1-2 with 15 minutes left. So you have to be strong, calm and positive. You have to control your emotions.”