Pep Guardiola hails victory over Fulham as ‘the moment’ in Manchester City’s career

Pep Guardiola has claimed Manchester City’s dramatic 2-1 win over Fulham was ‘the highlight’ of his time at the club to date.

Erling Haaland scored an injury-time penalty as 10-man City beat the Cottagers in a fierce Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium.

The goal sparked jubilant celebrations on the pitch, underlining the relief felt after the champions played for more than an hour shorthanded after Joao Cancelo was sent off.

The victory took City back to the top of the table and, although Guardiola racked up plenty of trophies in his six full seasons at the club, he felt the character shown on this occasion topped all.

Guardiola said: “Everyone was outstanding for 65 minutes against Fulham, playing the way we played.

“It was the highlight of my spell here in Manchester so far and of course the goal at the end, to celebrate with our people – we didn’t win the Premier League here today of course but this moment gives meaning to our work for all of us.

“It was so exciting. After seven years, you still have doubts – are people following you, are they tired, are they annoyed in their work, many thousands of millions of meetings, training sessions and trips, but today you say, wow, you see they are there.

“They still want to do it, they’re still alive and they make us so, so proud. We won because my players are beyond exceptional in every department.

City had looked comfortable early on and got through Julian Alvarez, but the game changed after Cancelo swept past Harry Wilson to concede a penalty and see red.

Andreas Pereira kicked in the resulting penalty and it took Haaland to recover form off the bench to snatch victory after the visitors proved a handful.

Guardiola didn’t complain about the dismissal.

He said, “He was the last man. It was a soft touch but there can’t be a touch. It’s a red card. »

Kevin De Bruyne won the late winner’s penalty.

Guardiola said: “I said he wasn’t at his best in the recent past – but he was completely the opposite today. He put the team on his shoulders.

Fulham boss Marco Silva felt his team deserved better.

He said: “It’s hard to cash in. The atmosphere is not at the top in the locker room. We came here for the big challenge ahead of us and we did it most of the time.

“They started better than us and the first goal we conceded was clear but I think we started there.

Referee Darren England shows Manchester City's Joao Cancelo a red card

Referee Darren England shows Manchester City’s Joao Cancelo a red card (Nick Potts/PA)

“After equalizing and with the red card, the game was more balanced. We showed some quality moments but I would like us to show more.

Guardiola also provided a positive update on injured England pair Kalvin Phillips and Kyle Walker ahead of the World Cup.

Phillips, who has played just 14 minutes of football this season, underwent shoulder surgery in September and Walker underwent groin surgery last month.

Guardiola said: “They feel much, much better. Yesterday Kalvin had his second full training session with us, full contact. The next game against Chelsea he will be on the bench. Whether he plays or not, I don’t know.

“Kyle feels really, really good too.”

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