Manuel Pellegrini accepts Manchester City’s good fortune in win over Swansea
Kelechi Iheanacho claimed a stoppage-time winner as title favourites Manchester City snatched a dramatic 2-1 victory over managerless Swansea in a frantic finish at the Etihad Stadium.
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini accepted his team may not have deserved to beat Swansea in a dramatic finish.
City snatched a stoppage-time victory over the managerless Swans at the Etihad Stadium as Kelechi Iheanacho deflected in a Yaya Toure strike.
It had look like Swansea would claim a point after Bafetimbi Gomis struck in the 90th minute to cancel out a first-half header from his former team-mate Wilfried Bony.
City had been sluggish throughout, with Pellegrini believing his side were still feeling the effects of Tuesday’s draining Champions League win over Borussia Monchengladbach.
Pellegrini said: “We really didn’t play well during the whole game. I think Swansea played a very good game.
“I knew three of four players were not 100 per cent recovered and when you have an important match as we did in the week, to restart the motivation is not easy.
“But it is three important points. Maybe we didn’t deserve to have the points today but I think these points maybe replace the points we lost here against West Ham United, when we had 18 or 20 chances to score.”
Pellegrini felt Toure was City’s outstanding player. The Ivorian provided energy and drive throughout and it was his determination that brought about the winner.
Pellegrini said, “I think Yaya was one of the best players in this game. In the first half and the second he was the player who tried to create different things.
“He has just come back in from an injury to his calf and he played the whole game in the Champions League and the whole game today. The goal was a reward.
“But the most important thing is we won. It doesn’t matter if it is Yaya’s goal or Kelechi’s goal.”
Swansea had troubled City in the second half with Gylfi Sigurdsson particularly impressive, forcing saves from Joe Hart and having an effort disallowed after a foul by Gomis.
It was a battling display by the Swans just three days after Garry Monk was sacked as manager following a dismal run of form. The delight on their bench was obvious as Gomis appeared to have earned them a creditable draw but that joy soon turned to agony.
Caretaker boss Alan Curtis said, “I felt we deserved something out of the game and thought we had got something when Bafi Gomis scored that equaliser, but that probably shows the difference between teams at the top of the table and teams where we are at the moment.
TWEET OF THE MATCH … Toure has spoiled things. 2-1″ – Gary Lineker has a ligh-hearted view on Yaya Toure’s stoppage-time winner as the Ivorian “spoiled” the binary of Premier League results.
“When you’re lacking a bit of confidence the luck tends to go against you but we can look at each other at the end of the game knowing everyone had given everything they had.
“We showed today the quality is there. We have got good players and I thought we were excellent today. So many people had written us off.
“We are bitterly disappointed to come away empty-handed but the performance, that is the standard. We have to maintain that and if we do, I am 100 percent confident we will get out of trouble.”
Yaya Toure: Toure may not be the force of old but this was still a highly influential display. He gave City drive and direction in a difficult game and had a couple of chances as he got forward. He pushed on to the end and got reward by forcing the last-gasp winner.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Bafetimbi Gomis: It was such a shame for Swansea that Gomis’ late strike ultimately counted for nothing in terms of this game. Swansea celebrated it with exuberance and all of the bench were on their feet and running towards the pitch. The joy quickly turned sour but it was a great moment nevertheless and underlined the spirit that still exists within the side and Monk somehow failed to energise.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
Manuel Pellegrini has been here before, with his multi-talented side failing to fire against after playing in the Champions League in midweek. But they dug deep and claimed a crucial victory and Pellegrini will be pleased with their resilience. Swansea will take positives from their spirited display. Caretaker boss Alan Curtis set them up well and the players responded. Swansea are not likely to be short of applicants for the chance to manage this team.
MOAN OF THE MATCH
Despite fielding a £74million centre-back partnership of Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi, City again failed to keep a clean sheet without Vincent Kompany. City have kept seven clean sheets in the eight Premier League games the Belgian has played this season. They have not kept one in the eight he has missed.
WHO’S UP NEXT?
Arsenal v Manchester City (Barclays Premier League, Saturday, December 19th)
Swansea v West Ham (Barclays Premier League, Saturday, December 19th)
It took City 14 minutes to muster an attempt on goal and Bony’s tame shot was easily dealt with by Lukasz Fabianski.
A quick Swansea counter-attack saw the visitors create another chance but Hart palmed the impressive Gylfi Sigurdsson’s effort over.
Jesus Navas went close at the other end midway through the half as he cut inside to shoot on his left foot. His strike was deflected wide but he picked out an unmarked Bony with his cross from the resulting corner and the Ivorian powered in a header.
It was the fourth time in succession he had scored in this fixture, with two appearances for each club, but he chose not to celebrate, instead pointing to the rain-filled sky.
Swansea might have had a quick reply as Andre Ayew headed over but the first half meandered to a close with only Toure, with a weak shot, threatening again.
Swansea made a lively start to the second period and Sigurdsson was thwarted in front of goal by both Eliaquim Mangala and Hart.
Toure tested Fabianksi from a set-piece before Sigurdsson drew another save from Hart from a free-kick awarded after Bacary Sagna caught Routledge in the head with a high foot.
City, having already sent on Fabian Delph for Sterling at half-time, withdrew David Silva after 68 minutes in the hope De Bruyne could spark them into life.
The Belgian immediately whipped in a dangerous corner but Nicolas Otamendi failed to make clean contact with his header. Delph also threatened with an effort that curled wide.
Still City looked clumsy at the back and Mangala was booked for a poor challenge on substitute Mo Barrow and Sigurdsson had a goal disallowed for a foul by Gomis on Hart.
City were caught out as Gomis broke through the middle and unleashed a fierce drive which Hart had no chance of keeping out with 89 minutes on the clock.
But joy quickly turned to despair for the Swans as Toure found space out on the right and his curling shot took a deflection off Iheanacho and dropped over Fabianksi’s head.