Pep Guardiola claimed he was happier with Manchester City's performance in defeat against Chelsea than he was in their wins over Burnley and Crystal Palace.
City's unbeaten home record in the Premier League this season was ended as Antonio Conte's side came back from 1-0 down to win 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium with the hosts finishing the game with nine men after Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho were sent off.
Guardiola hailed "clinical" Chelsea but refused to criticise his own players' efforts.
He said: "I am more satisfied than in the last two away games that we won. We were happy [against Palace and Burnley] because we won but we were worried at the time.
"I said to the players: 'Guys, we have to start to play better, like at the start of the season. Be free, show personality, be aggressive with the ball.'
"And they did, I thought personally, quite well. But we didn't win so we have something to improve on.
"I enjoyed seeing my team and that's why I congratulated them."
City's Kevin De Bruyne wasted an excellent chance to kill the game off at 1-0, hitting the crossbar from inside the six-yard box, and the hosts were made to pay with Diego Costa, Willian and Eden Hazard all finding the target as Chelsea established a three-point advantage at the top of the table.
"Chelsea have huge quality," added Guardiola. "Against Tottenham they didn't arrive for 45 minutes and then they did. They are clinical, they are so good in that process.
"At this level you can't expect to have 50 chances, it is impossible. We had a lot but you have to put the ball in the net."
Guardiola also admitted the club would not seek to appeal the red card shown to Aguero for a dreadful lunge at David Luiz in the closing stages, which sparked a bench-clearing melee.
"He was sent off, we will accept the ban and keep going. We will improve," he said.