In his 250th game in charge of Manchester City, Pep Guardiola celebrated success as goals from Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne gave them a 2-0 Premier League win over Fulham.
On Saturday, Sterling opened the scoring for City with a clinical finish as he ended a streak of six games without a goal in all competitions.
After Sterling had been clumsily brought down by Fulham’s Joachim Andersen, De Bruyne added a second from the penalty spot.
As they managed only a single attempt on target in a one-sided match, the Cottagers struggled to really test Ederson in the City goal.
From the kick-off, City imposed itself and Sterling in the third minute drew a fine near-post save from Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.
Shortly after, when Sterling latched on to a smooth pass from De Bruyne, Guardiola’s side were ahead until he calmly slotted the ball past Areola.
Fulham attempted to soak up City’s pressure, but when Andersen upended Sterling in the box as the forward won the 20th Premier League penalty of his career, more than any other player, Scott Parker’s tactical strategy was in tatters.
De Bruyne, who missed his last penalty against Liverpool, stepped up and sent a confident spot-kick to Areola the wrong way.
A brief mix-up between Ederson and John Stones on the half-hour saw both players breathe a sigh of relief with the City keeper off his line after the latter’s backpass rolled wide of the post.
For Fulham, it was a brief moment of respite and Areola was soon called on to keep out a Sterling volley again at the other end of the pitch.
After the interval, De Bruyne managed to provide the momentum for City’s attacks and reached the crossbar after he combined well with Gabriel Jesus.
For the remainder of the game, City went into cruise control, but when he cut inside, Ivan Cavaleiro briefly flickered into existence for Fulham and saw a speculative effort saved by Ederson.
When he encountered De Bruyne’s deep cross at the back post, Ruben Dias had the best of City’s late chances but could not guide his effort on goal.