Pep Guardiola would be delighted to be crowned the new king of ‘Fergie time’ after Manchester City grabbed yet another late winner against West Ham.
City equalled the Premier League record of 13 consecutive victories with a 2-1 success at the Etihad Stadium and have a chance to break new ground against their rivals at Old Trafford on Sunday.
There have been romps and thrashings along the way but their past four matches have all been settled in the final 10 minutes, with David Silva’s 83rd-minute finish against the Hammers a relatively early decider by recent standards.
And Guardiola is more than happy to take a reputation once owned by Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson, whose sides were renowned for late goals.
“I heard about the Fergie time, I was not here (in England) in that period but of course you have to have that,” said Guardiola, whose table-toppers reclaimed their eight-point lead over United.
“What we have shown in the last games is we never give up. If we can take something about the Fergie Time, it is welcome, a pleasure.”
There was a brief but telling nod to United midfielder Paul Pogba too, following the Frenchman’s comments about hoping for City players to fall injured before next week’s Manchester derby.
Pogba, of course, is the one who misses out after his red card against Arsenal – but Guardiola took the high road in response.
“I would like that Paul could play against us. I like to face the team with the best players possible,” he said. “I think it was an expression, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want our players to get injured.”
Both clubs have Champions League group games to fulfil before arguably the biggest game of the Premier League season, City against Shakhtar Donetsk and United versus CSKA Moscow, but the build-up starts now.
City’s Fabian Delph admitted recording a record 14th win at Old Trafford is a particularly appealing prospect.
“It would be nice,” he told Sky Sports 1.
“It’s a derby, we want to win that game. Hopefully we can get the three points.”
Hammers boss David Moyes has now overseen three defeats and a draw since taking over from Slaven Bilic, but insists things will soon be looking up.
His team sit 19th in the table, with Chelsea and Arsenal their next opponents, but the Scot is refusing the repeat the overly pessimistic tone he struck at Sunderland.
“I always think we will get away. I don’t think we will be in trouble,” he said.
“I think we have a good team, good players. I thought this performance gives us hope it can be done.
“I said to the boys if we do that against the other top teams we will give ourselves a chance and, as everyone knows, we’ve got a lot of the top teams coming up in the next few weeks.”
As for the pragmatic approach he sent the team out with, Moyes made no apology.
“I really want the football to be attacking but we are playing against a team that we can hardly get the ball so what are you going to do?” he said.
“I’m not going to stand and give them every opportunity to score. I’m not here to make it look good for Man City, I’m here to get a result for West Ham.”