Mens Team

Pep hails ‘incredible performance’ ​

CROUCHING TIGER: Pep can't bear to watch as a chance goes begging
Pep Guardiola says his team gave an extraordinary display against West Ham despite the exhausting Carabao Cup final match against Chelsea on Sunday.

The Blues ground out a 1-0 victory that could have been far greater on another day, but the boss says the win is all that matters on this occasion.

“We played so well,” said Pep. “You see the result 1-0 it looks like it could be better.

READ: City 1-0 West Ham: Official verdict

VIEW: Match gallery

“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.”

                        PAST AND PRESENT : Manuel Pellegrini and Pep chat before kick-off
PAST AND PRESENT : Manuel Pellegrini and Pep chat before kick-off

Pep added his players had to keep believing that the goal would eventually come as the Hammers continued to frustrate the hosts.

“The last 20 minutes of first half was flat, but not bad. In the mind of the players they start 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.

                        GAME-CHANGER : Bernardo won a penalty moments after coming on as a sub
GAME-CHANGER : Bernardo won a penalty moments after coming on as a sub

“We score against Schalke because of Leroy. 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 Catalan was also impressed with Ilkay Gundogan’s display as he filled the sizeable boots of holding midfielder Fernandinho.

“It is his natural position,” he said. “Other players have to adapt to that. Fabian can play there but is injured again.

Gundogan has to help us in the next few games. Mendy is back but not completely ready. Sandler was there but he is young. It is tough because of injuries, but we have enough players to compete.

“When you play every three days, in March and April, it is demanding. Everybody needs a little break and we need everybody to help fight for all the titles still in our hands.”

Though Spurs lost further ground with a 2-0 defeat at Chelsea, Liverpool won comfortably against Watford to remain one point clear at the top of the Premier League.

“We knew it (they would win) because Liverpool is a top side, we know that,” said Pep.

“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."

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