Football

Guardiola hails Manchester City players after 20th straight win

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City registered their 20th consecutive victory in all competitions on Saturday with a 2-1 success over West Ham United in the Premier League.
Pep Guardiola's Manchester City registered their 20th consecutive victory in all competitions on Saturday with a 2-1 success over West Ham United in the Premier League. Martin Rickett POOL/AFP

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola paid tribute to his players on Saturday after a 20th straight victory.

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The 2-1 win over West Ham United sent City 13 points clear of second- placed Manchester United who play at Chelsea on Sunday afternoon.

“It doesn't mean we win the title of course,” said Guardiola on social media. “But in winter time in England, every three days a game, Covid situation, injuries … winning, winning, winning shows strength mentally.”

City took the lead at the Etihad Stadium in the 30th minute when central defender Ruben Dias headed home a Kevin De Bruyne cross.

But on the stroke of half-time the visitors drew level. Michail Antonio, who had earlier hit the post with an effort, diverted in Jesse Lindgard’s miscued shot.

It was the first goal City had conceded at the Etihad since Mohamed Salah scored for Liverpool on 8 November.

But mid-way through the second-half Guardiola's side secured their 14th consecutive Premier League win when John Stones slotted past West Ham goalkeeper Darren Randolph after being set up by Riyad Mahrez.

Fight

“It was really tough, difficult,” Guardiola added. “The opponent is incredibly difficult. Big compliment to West Ham, after 26 fixtures to be in the top four. It’s because of a lot of work."

West Ham will only stay in the top four - and a place that leads to next season's Champions League - if Chelsea fail to beat United at Stamford Bridge.

Thomas Tuchel’s men go into the game on the back of an impressive 1-0 win over La Liga pacesetters Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their last-16 tie in the Champions League.

United too have European ambitions. They progressed to the last 16 of the Europa League on Thursday night after a 0-0 draw with Real Sociedad at Old Trafford completed a 4-0 aggregate win over the Spaniards.

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