Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has apologised to Watford for Raheem Sterling's first goal of three following his side's 3-1 victory over the Hornets.

Controversy surrounded City's first goal as Sterling looked to be in an offside position before he deflected the ball into the net.

At first referee Paul Tierney's assistant raised his flag to cancel out the goal, but the official overruled the linesman and decided the goal should stand.

Following the game, Guardiola said he was sorry if the goal was offside and said he believed VAR should have been introduced this season instead of next.

He said: "I’m so sorry, I apologise for Javi and Watford if the first goal is offside.

"Some referees say it is, sometimes another one says no. Just in case it’s offside, I’m sorry.

"There is a simple solution. This season it should be here, but next season we will have VAR and that will not be a problem and it will be more fair.

"In the beginning of the season, Manchester City voted to start the VAR from this season and some clubs didn’t accept that, so hopefully next season like in Europe we can install the VAR and this kind of situation can be fair."

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager also praised both Watford head coach Javi Gracia and winger Gerard Deulofeu, who he managed at Barca, describing them as "incredible". 

"The game was tight, we knew it," he said.

"Watford was incredible, their physicality, you see how massive they are, how tall, how good.

"Their manager, Javi, he is incredible, a well prepared manager, defensively was almost impossible.

"The results speak for themselves – he was in Spain, he was in Malaga and he was incredible and always played against Barcelona, with the most creative players I’ve ever seen, and always it was difficult to beat them.

"He’s [Deulofeu] an incredibly talented player, now he’s playing more central, close to Deeney. When he’s one against one, he’s an incredible thinker, he’s got good vision and good position.

"He’s improving his maturity and his defensive areas. He’s an exceptional player."