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Pep takes great pleasure in 'incredible' City win


ELATION: Pep Guardiola and Raheem Sterling. Photo: PA

ELATION: Pep Guardiola and Raheem Sterling. Photo: PA


ELATION: Pep Guardiola and Raheem Sterling. Photo: PA

Pep Guardiola hailed one of the finest performances of his Manchester City reign after his side returned to the top of the Premier League table following a 1-0 success at Bournemouth.

Substitute Riyad Mahrez scored the second-half winner at the Vitality Stadium to move Guardiola's champions two points above title rivals Liverpool ahead of yesterday's Merseyside derby.

City, who prevented the hosts from registering a shot on target, dominated proceedings and would have won by a far bigger margin had it not been for an inspired second-half performance from Cherries goalkeeper Artur Boruc.

Victory, however, came at a cost as City lost the key duo of Kevin De Bruyne and John Stones to injuries.

Guardiola replaced England defender Stones as a "precaution" early in the second half following the recurrence of a groin issue, while he must wait to discover the extent of De Bruyne's hamstring problem.

"We make an incredible performance today, one of the best performance we ever played," said Guardiola.

"We didn't concede one shot on target.

"Every time we lose the ball, we had three or four guys going there to pick up and recover the ball and play.

"Bournemouth were incredibly well organised, 11 players in the box, there were really no spaces, and we found them. I don't know what's going to happen at the end of the season but these players deserve all my admiration, all my respect.

"It's incredible how good they played today. Today is a special moment for all of us."

After City controlled the opening period without really threatening to score, De Bruyne, who has already had two lengthy lay-offs this term due to knee issues, limped off to be replaced by match-winner Mahrez in first-half stoppage time.

Centre-back Stones, returning following three games out, then had to come off for captain Vincent Kompany three minutes after the restart.

Guardiola believes the injuries are "physiological" issues, with the club's packed fixture list contributing to the problems.

"John, I think, is more a precaution, we'll see tomorrow. He was a little bit tight, he didn't feel good, and we didn't take risks. Hopefully it has not a big issue," said Guardiola.