Tottenham draw an improvement on last season for City, claims Guardiola

Liverpool may have won their first four games of the Premier League season, but Jamie Carragher labelled Manchester City title favourites.

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City's performance against Tottenham, despite a frustrating 2-2 draw, provided evidence the champions can improve again.

City have won the Premier League title in each of the past two seasons, recording a record 100 points in 2017-18 and then holding off a challenge from eventual Champions League winners Liverpool last term.

Guardiola's men are bidding for a third consecutive success in this campaign but suffered an early setback when Spurs scraped a share of the spoils last weekend, with Gabriel Jesus seeing a stoppage-time winner struck off following a VAR review.

However, having dominated Tottenham throughout, Guardiola considered City's display superior to that of one of their most impressive wins in 2018-19, when Chelsea were thrashed 6-0.

"The way we played against Tottenham showed we can do better than last season," he said.

"For example, the Chelsea game last season, we won 6-0 and the Tottenham game was better than Chelsea. But against Chelsea, the first five times in front of goal we scored four.

"Football and all sports are like this. The way we played was better.

"I think it's impossible to sustain every three days the way we played against Tottenham, for the emotion of the first game at home, Champions League finalists and the emotion for the players, they are incredibly focused.

"The problem when you play every three days, the attention to pay, you have to lift them. But the level was so good. It was incredible the way we played, so that is what we try to keep going with and build up from here."

Profligacy was the issue against Tottenham but, having seen City score 201 goals across the past two league seasons, Guardiola is not concerned it will become a long-standing problem.

"With the amount of goals we scored in the past two seasons, I don't have doubts that we can score goals," he said.

"We don't have two incredible players like Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi that score 50 or 60 goals a season but, in the past two seasons, we scored an incredible amount of goals.

"I don't think we lost that capacity and we're going to continue to score. What we can do is create this game and this game and this game to create chances in open play, in set-pieces and, after one day [of missing chances], that's going to happen."

Guardiola has experienced winning three titles in a row with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and he suggests, contrary to popular belief, winning without playing well would be more concerning.

"After you sleep, [the Tottenham game] is okay," he said. "When we win playing not good and not bad, the day after, I'm happy we won but that is not the right way to achieve big stages or big titles.

"The way we played was the signal, the way we did what we spoke about in training. We try to do it, it happens; that is the signal about whether the team is alive or not."