Pep Guardiola praises Raheem Sterling's performance
Premier League: Manchester City 3 West Ham United 1
MANCHESTER City manager Pep Guardiola was relieved to see Raheem Sterling hit his second goal of the afternoon to wrap up a 3-1 win over West Ham in what he felt was their best performance of the season.
City raced into a two-goal lead with goals from Sterling and Fernandinho but the Hammers rallied after the break and Michail Antonio pulled a goal back.
The Hammers’ direct approach caused City problems before Sterling scored late on to end any hopes of a comeback.
Guardiola said: “Here we have to win 2-0, 3-0, 4-0 to think that the game is over because they play long balls behind our full-backs. They win the second balls, they are taller than us. They jump more than us but we played a real good game. I think our defence enjoyed it and we are happy with what happened in this match.
“The only way they scored a goal was to cross the ball and when that happens they are so dangerous. They are taller in the box so they play in that style and that can happen. Then it was 2-1 and the emotion, the tactics they are in.
“We created many, many chances. I don’t know how many chances we create and how many shots on the goal. The performance was really, really good with the ball and without the ball. With the quality of our players we can be satisfied.
“In Bucharest we played amazing. In the Premier League it’s complicated – against Sunderland we played good for just minutes and Stoke City we adapted really really well in the conditions and here we played maybe the best minutes in the Premier League.”
But Guardiola did not want to contemplate the possibility of being without striker Sergio Aguero after the Argentinian appeared to elbow Winston Reid – an incident that was not spotted by the referee.
Guardiola added: “When I see on TV what you are talking about, after that we’re going to see.”
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic felt his side turned in a muchimproved performance after the break.
He said: “Second half we played good and created chances because we opened up. The team showed character, showed spirit. “They were deservedly two goals up but in the second half we played much better.
“We were close to them, we were closing them down. We were winning balls, we were winning second balls.
“Then, after we scored it gave us hope and we had our moments to equalise. “But they are different class to be fair, especially when we play without six, seven, eight players.”