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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola described Manchester City’s dramatic 2-1 win over Fulham as the highlight of his extraordinary reign at the Etihad Stadium.
City are in danger of losing points in the Premier League title race after Joao Cancelo was controversially dismissed in the first half of Saturday’s game.
But Erling Haaland came out of the bench to turn the penalty into a deep stoppage as 10-man City Arsenal tops the table by one point.
Haaland’s win sparked joyous celebrations from City boss Guardiola, who claimed the champions’ bold victory was the defining moment of his six years at Manchester.
City have won the Premier League four times in the last five seasons, while also lifting the FA Cup and League Cup under Guardiola.
But the Spaniard felt that the character his players showed against Fulham surpassed anything that had come before.
For 65 minutes against Fulham, everybody played as we did.
“That was my time so far in Manchester and of course our goal in the end was to celebrate with our people – we didn’t win the Premier League here today of course, but this moment makes sense for us. It’s work for all of us.
“It was very exciting. After seven years you always have doubts: Are people following you? Are they tired? Are people bothered by their jobs? Thousands of millions of meetings, trainings and travels but today you say wow. You see, they’re there.
“They still want to do it, they’re still alive and they make us very proud. We won because my players are beyond outstanding in all divisions.”
City looked comfortable early on and took the lead by passing Julian Alvarez, but the game changed after Cancelo rounded up Harry Wilson to concede a penalty and see the red.
Andreas Pereira buried the spotlight and Haaland needed to be refitted to finally end Fulham’s stubborn second-half resistance.
While Guardiola made no complaints about Cancelo’s farewell, “He was the last man. It was soft contact but no contact. Red card.”
Haaland once again became City’s hero with his 23rd goal in 16 games, while Kevin De Bruyne played an important role by winning the late penalty.
“I said in the recent past that he wasn’t doing his best – but today it was the opposite. He put the team on his shoulders,” Guardiola said.
© 2022 AFP