Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes his side still has a room for improvement, despite thumping Crystal Palace 5-0 over the weekend.

The result put City top of the table on goal difference and meant Guardiola's men have won their last three Premier League encounters by an aggregate score of 16-0 – but the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager has warned his players to not to let their standards drop.

"The know it and they feel it," he said.

"They know the players alongside them are all playing well, that's the best way. You're not going to have every player playing three games in a row for 11 months, so we need that competition.

"If the next guy is playing good, they have to play good. They have to keep winning. That's how you get the best performances."

A brace from Raheem Sterling and goals from Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero and Fabian Delph swept Palace aside on Saturday (23 September), as Guardiola allowed himself the luxury of keeping in-form striker Gabriel Jesus benched.

Few managers in the Premier League can count on the number of options at Guardiola's disposal and the Spaniard highlighted the importance of having a deep squad.

"We need Ilkay Gundogan back to put ­pressure on Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva," he added.

"Danilo at left-back was outstanding, how aggressive he was in defence and attack. So everybody has to push the other ones."

City have scored 21 goals in six league games so far but they have been just as solid at the other end of the pitch, conceding just two goals – the same as Manchester United.

The two Manchester clubs hold the joint-best defensive record in the league and boast the best and second-best attacking record respectively, but Guardiola said suggestions the title could be decided on goal difference are very premature.

"Chelsea won 4-0 at Stoke and United have kept five or six clean sheets," he explained. "So the competition is so tough, all the big teams are strong.

"We're in September now, so maybe in March, if ­everything is still tight, goal difference will be important. But let's not focus on that right now."

United host Crystal Palace at home on Saturday afternoon and could go top of the table for a few hours as their local rivals travel to London to face Chelsea in the 5.30pm kick-off. City have won just two out of their last 10 Premier League games at Stamford Bridge and were beaten in both fixtures against Chelsea last season, losing 3-1 at home and 2-1 in West London.