Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola slammed his side for sitting back and defending a two-goal lead despite cantering to a routine victory over bottom of the table Sunderland.
In-form Sergio Aguero swelled his goal tally for the season by netting his fifth in three matches in the opening period as Leroy Sane settled matters shortly before the hour mark.
A fourth successive Premier League triumph moved City above Liverpool into third place, eight points behind leaders Chelsea, while the Black Cats remain rooted to the basement, six adrift of safety.
“We were passing the ball between ourselves in the last 25 minutes,” said Guardiola, whose charges can usurp Tottenham and go second with victory at home to mid-table Stoke on Wednesday.
“I don’t like to defend a result and be near our box. It is okay if you’re 3-0 or 4-0 up, but not 2-0. Control is one thing but we forgot to attack.
“[But] we are so happy. We played good. Our build up was much better. It’s a good victory for us. We are there, so we need to keep going.”
Former England striker Jermain Defoe crashed a 25-yard effort against a City post on 20 minutes, after which Sunderland managed to keep the visitors at bay until the cusp of half time.
Playmaker David Silva found Raheem Sterling on the right and his centre was clipped home at the near post by Aguero, who had run across centre-half Lamine Kone, for his 23rd goal of the campaign.
City all but settled matters after 59 minutes when another incisive City break ended with Sane haring onto a rapier-like Silva pass and rifling an effort, in off the post, beyond Black Cats stopper Jordan Pickford.