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Pep peeved at not facing Pogba

China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-05 07:23

But City manager is 'pretty sure' United star not hoping for injuries

MANCHESTER, England - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is upset his team won't be facing Paul Pogba when Premier League-leading City bids to rewrite the history books in its huge derby with Manchester United.

Guardiola watched his side equal a Premier League record by winning its 13th straight match on Sunday when David Silva's late volley snatched a 2-1 win for City over West Ham.

It can break that record - set by Arsenal in 2001-02 and matched by Chelsea last season - and deal its crosstown rival a huge title blow when it visits Old Trafford this weekend.

Pogba fanned the derby flames in a Saturday interview in which he quipped he hoped City piles up injuries - only to then rule himself out of this Sunday's game by being sent off for stamping on Hector Bellerin in United's 3-1 win at Arsenal.

"He said that?" said Guardiola when asked about Pogba's comments.

"Hopefully we have no injuries and I wish that Paul could play against us. I like to face a team with their best players possible to see who we are able to beat.

"In the end I think it was just an expression. I'm a little upset ... but pretty sure he doesn't want our players to get injuries."

City has now earned nine league points this season by scoring in the last eight minutes of games - testament to both its persistence and how defensively teams are playing against them.

"I would prefer to win (games) earlier but the Premier League is the Premier League," Guardiola said.

"West Ham didn't want to play. They had 10 players inside the box, they take 20 seconds to the goalkeeper and that has happened the last few games.

"Today I learned to attack a little bit differently. We don't normally play with two strikers and two wingers but we did so, and it is a lesson. We can play the same way."

'Fergie time'

City's last four games have all ended in dramatic, late victories, drawing comparisons with successful Manchester United teams of old and their habit of scoring in so-called 'Fergie time' - named after then-manager Alex Ferguson.

"I've heard about Fergie time," said Guardiola.

"I was not here in that period, but of course you have to have that.

"At the end what we showed in the last few games is we never give up. I think what happened, the opponent doesn't want to play.

"They just want to defend, waiting for a moment. I understand. Don't misunderstand me; I am not judging but it is difficult.

"Hopefully in the future opponents can try to play and maybe it will be easier.

"That is why I'm happy because we were able to do it in the second half.

"If we can learn something about the Fergie time, it is a pleasure."

West Ham took the lead on the stroke of halftime through defender Angelo Ogbonna, before Nicolas Otamendi equalized early in the second half and Silva sealed a 20th straight win for City in all competitions.

"I really want the football to be attacking but we are playing against a team that we can hardly get the ball from so what are you going to do?" said West Ham manager David Moyes.

"But I don't think we will be in trouble. I think we have a good team, good players and today's performance gave us hope it can be done."

Agence France - presse

 Pep peeved at not facing Pogba

David Silva volleys home Manchester City's 83rd-minute winner against West Ham United during their English Premier League match at Etihad Stadium in Manchester on Sunday. The host won 2-1.Russell Cheyne / Reuters

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