Football

Guardiola: 20-match winning run shows Man City's mental strength

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said overseeing the team's 20-game winning run in all competitions may be one of the greatest achievements of his glittering career.

Goals from Ruben Dias and John Stones fired City to a 2-1 win over West Ham United on Saturday and moved them 13 points clear of second-placed Manchester United at the top of the English Premier League table, ahead of United's clash with Chelsea this morning.

Michail Antonio scored the Hammers' equaliser.

City racked up a record 100 points in their title-winning campaign in 2017-18 and won the domestic treble the following season, but Guardiola believes their current win streak in a season impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic ranks as one of his finest moments.

"In this period, with this situation, to be able to do 20, maybe it is one of greatest achievements we have done together in our careers," Guardiola said.

"That doesn't mean a title win but this period, the toughest period in England, (to have) no one week of rest for three or four months, every three days a game, with the Covid, injury situations. To be on this kind of run - winning, winning, winning - means mental strength."

Guardiola said the packed schedule was taking its toll despite the manner in which he rotates his squad.

"Mentally, it's tough because we play many games every three days. People start to be tired... We must rest mentally and physically. If not, you cannot sustain it," said the Spaniard, whose side host Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday morning (Singapore time).

Over at Elland Road, Aston Villa's Anwar El Ghazi struck to secure a 1-0 win over Leeds United, which moved the visitors six points behind fourth-placed West Ham and with two matches in hand.

Leeds are 11th on 35 points, one point ahead of Wolves who were held to a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United.

Midfielder Ruben Neves equalised for Wolves, after Jaamal Lascelles opened the scoring for the Magpies, who are three points ahead of 18th-placed Fulham. - REUTERS

Football