Guardiola hails 'big victory' for gritty City

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Taking over Raheem Sterling's role as City's last-gasp match-winner, Silva prodded home a volley from Kevin De Bruyne's cross in the 83rd minute to end the stubborn resistance of West Ham at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

The Catalan rested Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho on the bench - the influential duo a yellow card away from a Manchester derby suspension - and City offered early encouragement to their opponents by displaying the set-piece vulnerability that has plagued them of late.

City's record-equalling 13th successive league win moved them eight points clear of second placed Manchester United ahead of next weekend's clash with Jose Mourinho's men. I understand. I am not judging but it is hard.

"I said to the guys, anyone who doesn't want to play against Donetsk tell me now please because I am going to prepare the game to win", he added. "If we can take something in Fergie time, it is welcome, a pleasure".

Guardiola vowed to play a strong team, saying City owed it to Napoli to compete because the Italian side could still progress if his side won.

Both clubs have Champions League group games to fulfil before arguably the biggest game of the Premier League season, City against Shakhtar Donetsk and United versus CSKA Moscow, but the build-up starts now. We weren't good enough at keeping the ball but the defensive set-up was brilliant.

Having seen Huddersfield and Southampton stifle City in the past week and go close to getting a result, Moyes chose to replicate their formula.

For those looking for chinks in Blue Armour, they will point to the fact that City have struggled to get over the line against Huddersfield, Southampton and West Ham.

West Ham manager David Moyes, on his part, said: "I have to say it was a really good effort".

His team sit 19th in the table, with Chelsea and Arsenal their next opponents, but the Scot is refusing to repeat the overly pessimistic tone he struck at Sunderland.

"But we have players like David Silva in the team, so we knew if we kept going we'd get our chances". My feeling was I thought we deserved it (to equalise). "That is a lot", said Guardiola, whose team is yet to lose in any competition this season.

City were curiously off the electrifying pace they have set so far this season. 'We don't normally play with two strikers and two wingers but we did so it is a lesson.

Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany believes manager Pep Guardiola's teachings have helped players get their fundamentals right and credits the Spaniard for the Premier League club's progress.

"I think we should have done much better with it [the winning goal]".

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