Slick City easy into Carabao Cup Quarter-finals
City bounced back to form with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Burnley in the Carabao Cup.
Raheem Sterling bagged a couple and Ferran Torres opened his City count in a victory that a dominant City thoroughly deserved.
City bossed the first-half pretty much from start to finish with no obvious signs of damaged confidence after the Leicester defeat.
Burnley had set up with a compact formation, allowing Benjamin Mendy, Ferran Torres and Riyad Mahrez plenty of space down the flanks.
But as ever, it was the masterful Kevin De Bruyne who was pulling the strings as he created chance after chance in the first 45 minutes.
Sterling and Ferran Torres should both have done better after De Bruyne’s vision and sublime passing set them clear.
Mahrez also slipped in debutant Cole Palmer who saw his angled low shot saved.
It was all City and finally, with 35 minutes gone, the breakthrough.
Aymeric Laporte played a clever ball inside the Burnley right-back and Benjamin Mendy’s low cross found Sterling who made no mistake from eight yards.
It was thoroughly deserved - if scant reward – and both Torres and Sterling had opportunities to double the leads before the break with shots that just went the wrong side of the left post.
City took just four minutes to double that lead and it was Palmer who played a crucial part, winning possession on the halfway line before De Bruyne took over, drove forward and laid the ball to Torres whose clever low cross found Sterling who had time to control the pass and then slot into the bottom right corner.
And it was Torres who effectively put the game to bed on 65 minutes when Mahrez's low pass was helped on by Sterling and the young Spaniard calmly slotted past Bailey Peacock-Farrell to make it 3-0.
There were a couple of chances to increase the winning margin, but an excellent performance and a clean sheet was exactly what the doctor ordered.
TORRES AND PALMER IMPRESS
It takes time to adjust to the pace and power of English football but the signs are Ferran Torrres is a quick learner.
What was particularly encouraging was the embryonic understanding between the young Spaniard and De Bruyne that will have particularly pleased manager Pep Guardiola.
Torres' main threat was his variation on crosses with the Burnley defence never quite knowing where he will put the ball.
He played two superb passes to Sterling before it was third time lucky after the break and no two crosses were the same - Sergio Aguero will have looked at this game with great interest.
He capped a fine night with a well-taken goal that will do his confidence no harm whatsoever.
Cole Palmer looked assured and tidy on his debut.
The 18 year-old linked well with De Bruyne and kept things simple and precise throughout.
On another night, the Manchester-born midfielder might have had a couple of goals - but the fact he got in the positions and showed good awareness as he twice came close to setting up Sterling's hat-trick.
WHAT IT MEANS…
City move into the Carabao Cup quarter-finals with the draw tomorrow evening on Sky Sports after the Liverpool v Arsenal clash.
City travel to Elland Road for the first time in 17 years to face Leeds United in the Premier League (5.30pm kick-off) – the last game before the international break.
Burnley (0): Peacock-Farrell; Lowton (Bardsley, 78’), Long, Tarkowski, Taylor; Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil, Pieters; Barnes (Benson, 68’), Vydra (Wood, 45’)
Manchester City ( 3): Steffen; Walker (Harwood-Bellis, 66’), Fernandinho, Laporte, Mendy; Rodri (Aké, 73’), De Bruyne (Bernardo Silva, 63’), Palmer; Ferran Torres, Mahrez; Sterling
Goals: 0-1, Sterling (35’), 0-2, Sterling (49’), 0-3, Ferran Torres (65’)
Referee: Andrew Madley. Bookings: Sterling (76’), Bernardo Silva (90’)