Pep Guardiola was delighted by returning Leroy Sane’s display after putting Manchester City on course for a comfortable win against Fulham.
The Premier League champions returned from the international break in style at the Etihad Stadium.
Raheem Sterling wrapped up a 3-0 win shortly after half-time, with promoted Fulham fortunate that David Silva was the only player able to add to Sane’s second-minute opener in a dominant first-half display.
It marked a scoring return to action for the Germany international and reigning PFA Young Player of the Year – a welcome boost after recent questions over the Germany international’s focus.
“We never – even in this period when he didn’t played – doubted Leroy’s quality,” Guardiola said after Sane’s first Premier League start of the season.
“He show us many times in the last years, especially last season, and today he played again so good.
“But we cannot forget, sometimes this kind of thing happens. He is 21, 22 years old and this kind of thing. a little bit up and down, happens at that age.
“Sometimes he has to realise for himself, like a professional (what) he has to do – (I am) delighted for his performance.”
Guardiola was understandably upbeat after seeing off Fulham with ease on an afternoon when man-of-the-match Bernardo Silva acted as the puppet master.
“It is almost impossible to be more pleased as a manager with him,” the City boss said.
“That’s why he deserves to play all the minutes he is playing. He is a good example for us, for all the guys.
“I don’t forget the behaviour he had last season, when he played a lot but not at the start. He is an example.”
David Silva and Aymeric Laporte were also picked out for a praise after a game when Guardiola explained that Phil Foden was left on the bench due to a niggle picked up by Sergio Aguero.
Asked if the Argentina striker would be fit for City’s Champions League clash with Lyon on Wednesday, he said: “It’s something in the ankle. When he fell down, he felt something.
“He finished good the first half and the second half he start a little bit uncomfortable
“He could play but after 3-0, no risk. We will see tomorrow how he wakes up. We’ll see tomorrow.”
Fulham were relieved to see City take their foot off the gas in the second half, although the defeat means this is their second-worst start to a Premier League campaign.
“We never want to lose the game,” manager Slavisa Jokanovic said. “It was never going to be an easy day for us.
“How we start the game, how we start the second half, it didn’t make it easy for ourselves fighting for something positive.
“At the end, the result is completely fair. They showed they are one of the best teams in the world.
“They showed great possession of the ball and great attacking weapons. They were fast, strong and played a good football game.
“We didn’t find our best level or our perfect level, and without this level at this place it is not easy to play football.”