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‘The pitch was so dry’ – Guardiola offers reason for Forest struggles as Man City claim big win

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Manchester City kept the Premier League title race in their hands with a 2-0 win over a wasteful Nottingham Forest side on Sunday, and Pep Guardiola believes a dry pitch worked in his team’s favour.

Josko Gvardiol and Erling Haaland scored in either half as City responded to Arsenal’s 3-2 North London derby win over Tottenham with a hard-fought triumph at the City Ground.

However, Nuno Espirito Santo’s strugglers certainly had their chances to take something from the game, with Chris Wood missing three glaring opportunities and Murillo flicking against the crossbar when presented with an open goal.

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Speaking to BBC Match of the Day, Guardiola claimed the condition of Forest’s own pitch had worked against them in a match where they attempted 14 shots to City’s 11.

“The pressure comes from how you play. If you play well and control the game then people say you don’t feel the pressure, if you play bad people say you feel the pressure,” Guardiola said.

“In certain moments we suffered. We were lucky today the pitch was so dry, because with the chances they missed, that was the reason. We were lucky the pitch was in these conditions.”

Haaland – who netted as a substitute after missing two matches with a muscle injury – also mentioned the pitch when speaking to Sky Sports after the game.

“It’s an important win, it does not matter how we did it, and it is good to be back,” the Norwegian said.

“We knew it was going to be a fight, and the pitch was not the easiest to play on, but we cannot complain. It’s about winning and that is exactly what we did.”

Two of Wood’s misses were particularly costly for Forest. He completely miskicked with the goal gaping shortly after Gvardiol’s opener, then fluffed his lines again at the start of the second half with City rocking.

Nuno, however, is backing his striker to bounce back as Forest bid to secure safety in the coming weeks.

“We could have done better. Chris is one of the best strikers in the Premier League, we trust him and he will deliver for sure,” he told Sky Sports.

“We played a good game, we were compact, organised and had chances. We did a good job regarding how hard it is to play against Manchester City, and the players gave it a big go.

“With this attitude, we will achieve what we want. We stay positive and we go for the next three games.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.

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