City now have 46 points from 16 games, with United staying second on 35, and look like the title is theirs to lose even if Guardiola was not about to get carried away.
"Even if you try to press, it's really hard to recover the ball, so credit to them for that quality they have in their principles of play". "In December it's impossible to be champions but it's good for us", he said. "But it's important for our confidence to feel that we can compete on big stages with huge personality".
The Spaniard also responded to comments from his United counterpart Jose Mourinho who had blamed the referee's failure to give his team a penalty for the loss.
However, there was a controversial incident with 11 minutes left when Ander Herrera was booked for diving after being clipped by the Argentine defender in the penalty area.
He went on to criticise City despite Pep Guardiola's team being the dominant side for the majority of the game.
Manchester City's Raheem Sterling and team mates celebrate after the match. "The gods of football are behind them".
Marcus Rashford's goal against Manchester City made the striker Manchester United's most effective performer at Old Trafford this season.
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It meant City was getting quite easily to the edge of United's box before encountering a wall of red jerseys.
City's dominance was rewarded in the 43rd minute although the breakthrough was not a product of clever passing but sloppy defending from United at a set-piece.
De Bruyne's outswinging corner hit Lukaku as the United striker challenged for the ball with Otamendi, and Silva was on hand to guide the loose ball past stranded goalkeeper David De Gea from just inside the six-yard box.
United's rearguard action against Arsenal saw them return from North London with all three points, therefore starting this match eight adrift of City at the top.
He did, however, credit the visiting team for its approach as it ended United's 40-match unbeaten run at home, stretching all the way back to the derby defeat last September.
Rashford popped up to punish Nicolas Otamendi and Fabian Delph for missing the ball and scored his sixth home goal this season. He had time and space to deal with Silva's floated free kick in the 54th, yet managed to smash his attempted clearance into the back of teammate Chris Smalling.
Manchester City have now won 13 successive league matches - a joint-record within a single top-flight season, alongside Chelsea (2016-17), Arsenal (2001-02), Preston and Sunderland (both 1891-92). "In all departments, we were better".
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