The scoreline of Manchester City's FA Cup win over Cheltenham of League Two was flattering on the Blues in the end.
City were poor for 81 minutes against their fourth-tier opponents, and were lucky to progress to the fifth round on a night that looked for long periods of being one of the biggest upsets in modern history.
Cheltenham made the 72 places between them and City look like far fewer, but for all the hosts' bravery and spirit, it was City who looked like a League Two side, rather than the Robins playing Premier League stuff - until the last ten minutes anyway.
Pep Guardiola needed his big hitters from the bench in Ilkay Gundogan, Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo, with the final substitution of those three telling.
Benjamin Mendy was making only his second appearance since New Year's Eve, and has only featured four times in City's last 15 outings - with ten games on the bench as an unused substitute. He has allowed Joao Cancelo and Aleks Zinchenko to move ahead of him, so was in need of a positive performance on Saturday.
Mendy did little wrong, but like in the last round, he did little to affect the outcome of the game. His first half volley was sweetly struck and deserved a goal, but the diving goalline clearance was better and was a superb bit of play from Cheltenham's Ben Tozer. Mendy also put in a handful of good crosses, to his credit, but too much of Cheltenham's attacks came on his side, and he was no help in the air defending those long throws and set pieces.
Cancelo or Zinchenko will surely replace him in the Premier League against West Brom in the week, and Mendy won't be the only one dropping out.
In attack, Riyad Mahrez was ineffectual against a fourth-tier full-back who was happy to back peddle and not dive in against the City no.26. When Mahrez did occasionally get past his man, the final ball was poor and he should have done better one-on-one when City were behind.
On the other side, Ferran Torres converted with the final touch of the game, however the goal won't mask a poor team performance, and it won't save him from a relatively quiet performance. In his defence, Torres is still recovering from Covid, and he was playing out of position as a striker when Gabriel Jesus dropped deep. Still, he didn't show enough to displace Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden or Bernardo Silva from the wings in City's strongest XI.
Jesus is perhaps the only underperformer who will keep his place at West Brom, but only due to the absence of Sergio Aguero. Jesus' goal to put City ahead was well-taken, and his reaction showed the relief of a player who has struggled recently. Playing deeper than usual, Jesus missed a few chances, including one glorious chance with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Maybe his late goal will be the catalyst for some improved form. In his own words after this game, this season has been a frustrating one, and he admits he is still working to regain his maximum strength and rhythm after recovering from Covid. He will need to find another level from his Cheltenham performance if he wants to keep his place when Aguero is back.
Even Aymeric Laporte and Eric Garcia needed Ruben Dias to shore them up after Cheltenham scored. The aim for the pair was to regain some fitness, however, and in that respect they passed their test.
Overall, though, Guardiola's changes vs Cheltenham don't excuse such a drop in performance from recent weeks, and he was trusting those who came in to repay his faith and show him why they deserve to start in the league. If none of those ten players retained their place against West Brom on Tuesday, it wouldn't be a surprise.