It’s not often you hear a former Manchester United player give too much praise to Manchester City, but after coming up against Pep Guardiola’s well-oiled machine on Saturday, Tom Cleverley couldn’t hide his awe and admiration.
Cleverley started for Watford as City put them to the sword at Vicarage Road, returning to Manchester with three points after a comprehensive 6-0 win.
And ex-United man Cleverley, who lasted 64 minutes before being replaced by Roberto Pereyra, offered the highest praise in defeat.
“In my whole career that is one of, if not the best single performances I have played against,” said Cleverley, who spent 15 years at Manchester United before leaving in 2015.
“Every area of the field they are organised. Even the nasty side of the game, they can do that with players like Fernandinho. They started well last year and didn’t manage to win it, so let’s see.
“It is one game and we have not really tested them today and they will come up against different challenges.”
City have been a force of nature in recent matches, clocking up an aggregate score of 15-0 over the past three games against Liverpool, Feyenoord and Watford. The perfectionist Pep Guardiola, who has acknowledged his team’s improvement, will want more of the same with big matches against Shakhtar Donetsk and Chelsea coming up.