Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola reacts during the match against West Ham. Photo: Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

LONDON – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola praised his side's “incredible” performance after a 1-0 win at home to West Ham on Wednesday saw them keep pace with Premier League leaders Liverpool.

City dominated the early stages at the Etihad and could have had several goals, but in the end they had to make do with a 59th-minute penalty from Sergio Aguero, awarded when West Ham's Felipe Anderson was ruled to have tripped Bernardo Silva in the box.

Victory left reigning English champions City in second place, just a point adrift of Liverpool, who thrashed Watford 5-0 at Anfield on Wednesday.

“It was a very hard result, but the performance was incredible,” Guardiola told the BBC.

 Pep Guardiola gives instructions to Raheem Sterling. Photo: Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Pep Guardiola gives instructions to Raheem Sterling. Photo: Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

The Spaniard added: “Had we scored one or two in the first five minutes the game would have been completely different, but we did very well.

“The game became a little bit flat. We started the second half really well. We just didn’t score enough goals to make the last 15 to 20 minutes a little bit more relaxed,” the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager insisted.

“We fought a lot to be close to Liverpool. The result could be better, but the way we played is fantastic.”

Agence France-Presse (AFP)