English Premiership

Guardiola hails 'big victory' for gritty City

2017-12-03 22:21
Pep Guardiola (Getty Images)

Manchester - Pep Guardiola hailed Manchester City for refusing to be frustrated by West Ham's massed defence after the Premier League leaders came from behind to snatch a 2-1 win on Sunday.

Free-scoring City found it hard to break down the well-organised Hammers after Angelo Ogbonnna's shock opener just before half-time, but they kept their heads and equalised through Nicolas Otamendi 12 minutes after the break before David Silva volleyed a fine winner with seven minutes left.

"We started really well but we lost our patience. We didn't have any rhythm because (West Ham goalkeeper) Adrian was taking 30 seconds every time (with the ball).

"They played 10 players inside the box, it was almost impossible. It's a big victory. It showed what we are."

City's record-equalling 13th successive league win moved them eight points clear of second placed Manchester United ahead of next weekend's clash with Jose Mourinho's men.

Guardiola admitted his half-time decision to send on Brazil forward Gabriel Jesus was a key moment as it allowed City to have more support for Sergio Aguero up front.

"You have to try to solve it (when teams defend deep). We had two strikers in the second half and that helped, it was a big lesson for me. We created more with two," he said.

"The pace was better, we had more presence in the box. Kevin de Bruyne playing as the holding midfielder gave us the tempo. We were much, much better."

However, having conceded another goal from a set-piece against West Ham, Guardiola expects another aerial bombardment from United next week.

"We spoke a lot about defending set-pieces but they are taller. It will happen again next week against United so we have to try and concede fewer set-pieces," he said.

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