Pep Guardiola admitted that Southampton made it “very hard” for his Manchester City players even though the league-leaders won 5-2.
City started the game slowly, but they made the most of their first attack in the 15th minute. Oleksandr Zinchenko was found on the left flank and he sent a ball in towards Phil Foden.
His attempt was saved by Alex McCarthy, but Kevin De Bruyne was there to tap home the rebound.
Southampton grabbed a deserved equaliser in the 25th minute. James Ward-Prowse scored from the penalty spot, but City were ruthless before the break as they restored their lead.
Riyad Mahrez latched onto a mistake from Che Adams and he finished well to make it 2-1. The Algerian came close to getting his second in added time, but Ilkay Gundgodan finished from close range after his teammate had struck the post.
Mahrez did get his second goal in the 55th minute, though. Foden did well to set him up in the area and his teammate was clinical as he got the better of McCarthy.
Southampton hit back almost instantly as Adams reacted quickly to divert Stuart Armstrong’s attempt into the net past Ederson.
The hopes of a Saints comeback were dashed with half an hour to go as City got their fifth. Foden was the provider again as he set-up De Bruyne for his second of the game.
Man City are now 14 points clear of Man United at the top of the Premier League. Guardiola told Sky Sports, as cited by BBC Sport, that his focus now diverts to Fulham this weekend:
“They made us suffer at times. In general, it was good. Another victory and we move on to Fulham. Southampton put a lot of players in the middle and made it very hard for us.
“They expose a lot which allowed us to counter. The quality of our players won the game – Riyad, Phil and Kevin. I don’t understand the hands from Arsenal against Fulham.
“Another example is the penalty today. Maybe one day they will explain the rules. But we won so we’re happy. Fulham is next.”