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Guardiola ‘learned to attack differently’ in Man City win

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Today was a big lesson for me – Guardiola

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says the 2-1 win over West Ham showed him how to unlock packed defences that are “almost impossible” to break down.

For the second time in three matches, City came from behind to extend their winning run to 13 Premier League games.

Guardiola brought on Gabriel Jesus to partner Sergio Aguero in attack for the second half, with Kevin de Bruyne operating deeper in midfield.

“I learned to attack a bit differently,” said Guardiola.

“Normally we don’t play with two strikers and two wingers. Maybe to attack this kind of defence it is much better.

“They didn’t want to play. When they lost the ball, they didn’t press. They just went back with 10 players in the box. It has happened the last three games. It is almost impossible.”

Last Sunday, City rallied to win 2-1 after conceding the opening goal at Huddersfield before netting a late winner against Southampton at home three days later.

In both those games, Raheem Sterling got the late goal but on Sunday it was David Silva who scored in the 83rd minute after Nicolas Otamendi cancelled out Angelo Ogbonna’s goal for West Ham.

Victory meant Guardiola’s side re-established their eight-point lead over Manchester United, who they play at Old Trafford on Sunday (16:30 GMT).

City’s victory also equalled the longest winning run within a top-flight season, matching Sunderland and Preston (1891-92), Arsenal (2001-02) and Chelsea (2016-17).

‘Good news’ for City

Man City touches - first half (left) v second half (right)<!–

Manchester City had many more touches in the West Ham box in the second half (right) following Gabriel Jesus’ introduction at half-time

Argentina striker Aguero and Brazil forward Jesus have started just two games together since September, having combined more regularly in the season’s opening games.

But Jesus’ half-time introduction against West Ham in place of defender Danilo paid dividends and Guardiola seems likely to revisit the tactic.

“With two strikers in the box, we can play the same way, with the same patience and the same quality. It is good news for me in the future,” he said.

“How we attacked in the second half was much better.”

Guardiola is also adamant he is “preparing a team to win” this week’s Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk, despite City having already qualified for the next stage and the Manchester derby being four days later.

“Hopefully no-one will have injuries. I said to the players the guy who doesn’t want to play in Donetsk, let me know please,” said the Spaniard.

“It is a big opportunity to win 18 points from 18 points. Kevin [de Bruyne] will have two or three days off, he is suspended. The best way to prepare for the United game is by playing good.”

‘A real chance’ for West Ham

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Moyes praises Hammers’ effort and attitude

West Ham manager David Moyes was impressed with his side’s performance against City and believes they have “a real chance” of avoiding relegation.

The Scot has only picked up one point since succeeding Slaven Bilic, and the Hammers remain second bottom of the table, three points from safety.

Moyes was particularly impressed with the “effort and energy” of his players as they held out for almost 60 minutes against one of the Premier League’s most potent attacking sides.

The Hammers were defensively solid and threatened to score before and after the first-half lead given to them by Ogbonna – with Diafra Sakho firing wide in the dying minutes.

“We missed two good chances in the first half and had one right at the end,” said Moyes.

“We tried to stay in the game and play on the counter attack. Defensively we did a great job.

“I always think we will get away [from the relegation zone]. I don’t think we will be in trouble. I think we have a good team, good players.

“The only [game] that has been a disappointment was the Everton one.”

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