Stoke City boss Paul Lambert has praised the attitude of Manchester City and boss Pep Guardiola, after their 2-0 win against the Potters at the Bet365 Stadium on Monday evening in the Premier League.
Speaking to Sky Sports in his post-match interview, the Scot lauded the approach of the Citizens and what he described as 'terrific' style of play the league leaders have adopted this term as City close in on the Premier League title.
Lambert said: "They are as good a team as I have seen in a long time. I think with their movement, trying to keep them at bay [was hard].
"The first goal was a bit of an error from us. If you look at the movement, Sane does really well with pulling Moritz [Bauer] really wide and he's got to try and cover Silva making runs from the midfield too. Defensively we got caught and it was the same for the second goal.
"I think the way they play the game is terrific, the passing, the movement, you don't really see it until you get close to it, it's a very difficult game to stop. This is a really really top side we have come up against."
As David Silva notched his second brace of the season, the visitors were at their free-flowing best in the Potteries and might have won by a more handsome margin had fortune fallen their way at moments during the game.
The win nevertheless extends City's imperious lead at the summit of the English top flight to 16 points, and now within two wins of regaining their league crown - Guardiola's first during his reign in Manchester.
For Stoke themselves, the defeat leaves Lambert's men mired in a relegation battle and as Everton visit this weekend, the Scot knows the importance of a strong performance on Saturday and credited his side's showing versus the champions elect.
"I have to give my own team a lot of credit; we never capitulated," Lambert said. "This game was never going to define where we are at the end of the season.
"I am not going to criticise the team, we gave it everything, we stuck at it. There were one or two moments that might have gone our way but it didn't.
"Everton here [at the bet365] on Saturday is tough but we have a really good spirit within the team. It is a different game for us and we won't come up against Man City every other week."