Leroy Sane inspired league leaders Manchester City to their eighth successive Premier League win with victory at West Brom, but manager Pep Guardiola warned his side must be more clinical in front of goal.
City had 78% of the possession and created 15 chances in total, but were made to hang on at the end after Albion substitute Matt Phillips scored in stoppage time.
“We create I don’t know how many and just scored three,” said the Spanish boss, with David Silva having missed twice from close range while Kevin de Bruyne hit the side-netting from six yards out.
“In those terms, we have to improve. We need to be clinical if we want to win titles but football is unpredictable.”
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Germany winger Sane sent City on their way when his vicious strike from 15 yards flew past keeper Ben Foster. That was his eighth goal of the season, the same as strikers Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus.
The Baggies hit back only three minutes later when Jay Rodriguez lifted his effort past Ederson after Gareth Barry played him in.
But the euphoria from the home support returned to derision soon after the restart when Sane supplied Fernandinho and his drive deflected off a couple of Baggies players and hit the foot of the post before trickling in.
West Brom once again sat back after the break and were punished in the 64th minute when substitute Raheem Sterling tapped in his ninth of the season after a swift move started by the excellent Sane.
Phillips anticipated well to score Albion’s second late on, after City defender Nicolas Otamendi tried to chest the ball back to his keeper Ederson, but there was barely enough time for West Brom to mount another attack as City made it 28 points from 30.
Sane more than a support act
Sane’s pedigree was never in doubt, but his rapid ascension since joining City in August 2016 might have surprised a few.
The German is only 21 but is proving to be an indispensable figure in Pep Guardiola’s side. More information please click here.
The former Schalke midfielder, who scored nine goal in 37 appearances in his first campaign, was outstanding on the left and, with forward Gabriel Jesus off key, the most potent threat for City.
His goal was memorable. Fernandinho found his team-mate with a 10-yard pass and Sane jinked one way then the other before he arrowed in a fierce effort from the left of the area.
He turned provider when he laid the ball to Fernandinho for the second before beginning the sweeping move for the third, which started on the left and was quickly passed across the edge of the box before Kyle Walker delivered the telling cross for Sterling.
Earlier this week, Sane praised Guardiola for changing his game – his teacher will have been further pleased with his player’s progress.