City take top spot after Bournemouth win

BOURNEMOUTH, United Kingdom (AFP) – Pep Guardiola hailed his “incredible” Manchester City players after the Premier League champions dug deep to beat Bournemouth 1-0 on Saturday night and return to the top of the table.

Riyad Mahrez’s 55th-minute goal eventually settled matters at the Vitality Stadium, moving City two points ahead of title rivals Liverpool.

City were made to work for the win against a Bournemouth side who defended in numbers and failed to register a single attempt on goal.

But City manager Guardiola was impressed with the way his players stuck to their task, insisting their performance underlined they have no intention of giving up their title easily.

“We made one of the best performances we have played, they (Bournemouth) were very organised,” said Guardiola. “But they didn’t have one shot, we defended well from throw-ins and free-kicks.”

The Spaniard added, “We created a few chances, people should understand how difficult it is to attack 11 players (who are defending). Thanks to the players, they are absolutely incredible.

“We demand a lot of the players without giving them the time to rest physiologically, that is why it is incredible.

“No one knows what is going to happen at the end of the season but these players deserve my admiration and my respect,” Guardiola said.

“After two seasons I have the squad that I want. And when that happens you are proud,” the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager added.