Pep Guardiola admitted that Manchester City were “lucky” to get all three points against West Ham after outlining how their opponents made life difficult.
City recorded a 20th successive victory by beating West Ham 2-1 thanks to goals from centre-backs Ruben Dias and John Stones.
It now seems a matter of when, not if, City will win the Premier League title. They seem unstoppable at present and stand a strong chance of winning multiple trophies this season.
In truth, West Ham came fairly close to halting their winning momentum. They were level at half-time and could have equalised again with a late chance.
Pointing to their blend of physicality and quality, Guardiola admitted that West Ham were a tough opponent.
Guardiola told BT Sport: “It was really difficult. They have the physicality. They have the quality of players in Lingard, Fornals.
“After 10-15 minutes today we realise we are not going to paint anything beautiful. Second half we were much better than the first half.
“When you play a lot of games, in the league and then the Champions League, this is normal.
“We were lucky to get all three points. The mathematics matter at the end of the season.”
Stones gives West Ham credit
Goalscorer Stones also gave praise to the opponents,
He told BT: “A lot of credit must go to West Ham. We knew what they would do. How they have been playing and their position speaks for itself. All credit.
“We had to fight them to the last few minutes. We were a bit deflated at half-time, we weren’t at our free-flowing best as we have been.
“But that is down to how they set up. West Ham showed great character in the second-half.”
Stones and Dias have earned plaudits for their defensive performances this season, but in this game, they had a decisive impact at the other end as well.
The England international insisted they are always ready to help the team and praised his teammate Dias for how quickly he has settled in this season.
Stones added: “I try and chip in [with goals]. Some days it doesn’t come off for the forwards and today me and Ruben chipped in.
“It is part of us being a team. We are just glad to get three points and keep the run going.
“Can only give credit to Ruben for moving to a new country and club and how he has played straight away. He has been outstanding.
“We go about our business in our own way and keep fighting. We are playing the football we were a few seasons ago, we have fighters in the dressing room. It has been an incredible few months. We are in every competition to try and win them.”