Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City’s 1-0 win over West Ham wasn’t a fair reflection of their “incredible performance”.
Just three days after beating Chelsea on penalties in the Carabao Cup final, City were back in action on Wednesday night at the Etihad Stadium against West Ham needing all three points to keep up with Premier League leaders Liverpool.
Despite City’s bright start, however, they were unable to break through a well-organised West Ham defence with David Silva coming closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half by hitting the post.
Guardiola then introduced Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva in the second half in order to help a dominant City finally get a goal.
And it was Bernardo who made the decisive impact after going down in the area from a Felipe Anderson challenge to earn City a penalty, which Sergio Aguero slotted home to secure the Citizens a 59th-minute match-winner.
“We played so well,” said Guardiola on the club website.
“You see the result 1-0 it looks like it could be better.
“We created a lot of chances in the first five minutes. Of course, we didn’t score enough goals for the way we played but the way we defend the second balls was incredible.
“We conceded just one shot on target. After 120 mins on Sunday, we made an incredible performance.
“The last 20 minutes of the first half were flat, but not bad. In the mind of the players, they started to think about how can it be 0-0 after all the chances we had?
“Raheem and Bernardo help us make a step forward in intensity in the final third. We created a lot of chances. We did well, really. Honestly, I think we played a really good game.
“They added another pace. We needed a little bit more. We didn’t finish like we created.
“Bernardo is a player so creative. The game was 0-0 and we needed them to take a step forward, which they did.
“We can’t play with only Bernardo and Raheem. They have to train harder, compete harder because they are going to play more minutes.
“We score against Schalke because of Leroy [Sane]. We cannot sustain the same players every three days. Everyone has to contribute.
“We cannot live with just Sergio – in the last 15 minutes he was exhausted.”
The former Barcelona coach was unsurprised by Liverpool’s 5-0 demolition of Watford on the same night to ensure City remain a point behind the Reds at the top of the Premier League table.
“We knew it (they would win) because Liverpool is a top side, we know that,” said Guardiola.
“Now we have a gap between the top two and third. Many things are going to happen.
“We will drop points and I think Liverpool will drop points. The important thing now is to refresh and recover for Bournemouth.”