Manchester City’s players “have permission to play awful” as Pep Guardiola insists his men are still far away from what he hopes to achieve at the Etihad Stadium.
City beat Swansea 3-1 at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday afternoon to make it 10 wins out of 10 under their new manager.
Bookmakers have installed City as favourites for the Premier League title and the FA Cup, and are only listed behind Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid for the Champions League.
But while Guardiola is more than pleased with how his players have adapted to his methods in their time together so far, he is adamant that there is much more to come.
Asked if he is close to the level he wants to play at following the win in Wales, Guardiola replied: “No, we are far, we are far. It would be boring: if we are close I can go back home.
“We are here to get better, when you think it’s done why should you keep going? It never ends in football. Always you can play better. Individual performance, collective performance, the reason why we play better… the opponents always create different things every game, how we solve that during the game, we don’t have time before the game, that’s why the game is nice.”
One of Guardiola’s first moves as City boss was to stress to his players that there is an army of staff working to help them reach their potential.
The Catalan has brought a number of new coaches, analysts and doctors with him to Manchester.
And he says his players have freedom to put in poor performances while they get to grips with the new set-up – as long as they work for their place in the team.
“I said many times I am so happy, because they work a lot, they know that all the staff are working 24 hours for them,” he added.
“When they are at home with their wives they know that we are there working for them, to get better.
“They have permission to play awful. They don’t have permission to not run, but they have all the permission to play awful because that is necessary to play like this, because we are going to be better the next time.
“From the beginning, the first training session, for many people here they start to work a lot and with a lot of personality, so we are so happy how they live their jobs, their lives as football players. That’s why we are able to win those games, especially today [against Swansea].”