Pep Guardiola hails huge victory as Man City edge past dogged West Ham
A 33rd-minute strike from Ilkay Gundogan and a late Fernandinho effort earned the champions a hard-fought 2-1 Premier League success at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
The first half of the match was played in heavy snow which made the line markings and the ball difficult to see.
City manager Guardiola said: “The amount of chances we created, especially in the first half, in the conditions that both teams played in – it was a huge victory for us, for the effort of the players and the performance.
“We didn’t concede much. We defended the set-pieces really well and counter-attacks we controlled.
“We could maybe make another speed, another rhythm but weather conditions didn’t allow us to do it and it was a good performance from us.”
Had the snow not relented during the break, the game could conceivably have been called off, but the interval needed to be extended for the pitch to be cleared.
Guardiola said: “I think the groundkeepers, the men who took care of the pitch, were the men of the match. They did an incredible job so we could play the game today.”
A year ago City launched a 19-game unbeaten league run that all but carried them to the title.
Guardiola brushed aside suggestions that his side looked capable of repeating such a sequence, insisting he was not looking beyond Wednesday’s trip to Aston Villa.
He said: “I don’t know what’s going to happen. What we have done in the past is the past. The only present is to celebrate today, recover well and Wednesday go to Birmingham to play Aston Villa.
“The rest is fantasies, making wrong thoughts in your mind.”
West Ham manager David Moyes, whose side did manage a spectacular injury-time consolation from Manuel Lanzini, felt the visitors were made to pay for not taking their chances.
Moyes said: “The real quality at the end was the difference. Man City are full of quality and good players.
“We did lots of good things but when we got the chances to create a good opening or finish we didn’t take it. You don’t come to Man City and get loads of them but we did our best to get some.”
Moyes felt the snow probably worked in City’s favour.
He said: “I hoped it might have helped us and it would affect them more than it did us, but when they got the goal the worst of the snow came down.
“If anything we lost our concentration a little bit and the visuals for the ball were difficult. It was difficult conditions but I was happy to play the game. We all wanted it to be played.”