Pep Guardiola has said Manchester City have rediscovered some of their early-season swagger after they thumped West Ham United 5-0 in the FA Cup third round.
City won their first 10 matches of the campaign but have faltered in recent weeks and currently lie fourth in the Premier League, seven points behind leaders Chelsea.
But in his first FA Cup tie, Guardiola named a strong line-up and was rewarded with a resounding victory thanks to Yaya Toure’s penalty, Havard Nordtveit’s own-goal and strikes from David Silva, Sergio Aguero and John Stones.
“Today we controlled the game more, through our passes,” the City manager said.
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“Before the penalty we created chances and after half-time we played like we expected, like it was at the start of the season.
“In the last month or two, for different circumstances, we weren’t able to do that but hopefully now we can start again to play in that sense.
“It’s the only way for this kind of team. We are not strong and fast like the other teams but we try to play with the ball as much as possible.
“We can’t achieve our targets unless we start to play and keep the ball. When David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Yaya Toure touch a lot of the ball the rest can play easier. We have to play.”
City’s constant early pressure told in the 32nd minute when Pablo Zabaleta tumbled to the floor under Angelo Ogbonna’s challenge.
There was only minimal contact but referee Michael Oliver quickly pointed to the spot and Toure stepped up to lash the penalty past Adrian.
West Ham almost hit back immediately but Sofiane Feghouli was unable to tuck a rebound into an unguarded net.
Two goals in two minutes before half-time killed off the hosts as Nordtveit turned in Bacary Sagna’s cross and Silva tapped in the third.
Five minutes after the interval it was four, Toure rifling a shot through a crowded area and Aguero diverting the ball into the net, and Stones headed in Nolito’s corner six minutes from the end for number five.
It was another chastening evening for West Ham at the London Stadium.
“It was a very bad night,” West Ham manager Slaven Bilic said.
“It’s hard to say anything positive. We started well for half an hour until the penalty. The penalty looked a bit soft but it’s hard to talk about that when you lose 5-0.
“Then in the crucial moments we had a great chance to equalise. But then we started to chase them on a big pitch which is very difficult to do against them.
“We gave them too much space and they scored two more goals. It was game over at half-time.”
* Press Association
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