Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola dismissed his side’s chances of reigning in league leaders Chelsea, despite battering West Ham United at the London Stadium last night.
City were the only club in the Premier League’s top six to pick up three points in the midweek fixtures after a commanding 4-0 win over the Hammers, yet Guardiola insisted only a Chelsea capitulation could re-ignite their title hopes.
“Only Chelsea can lose the Premier League,” said the Spaniard.
“Look at how many games they’ve lost in the last 15, 16 games. You can’t expect them to lose four or five games in the fixtures they have left.
“We are not in a position to think about the big, big goals. At 10 points [behind Chelsea] the gap is too much.”
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic said his team’s mistakes were punished by City’s young front three of Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus who was making his full Premier League debut.
“Instead of trying to get in behind we played those square balls and gave it away,” he said.
“Sometimes you get away with it against teams with less quality but against those players with pace like Jesus, Sane and Sterling, they’ll just punish you and that’s exactly what happened.”
Jesus, who started ahead of Sergio Aguero, was deployed as the focal point of a multi-pronged City attack that overwhelmed the hosts with its speed and fluidity.
Kevin De Bruyne capitalised from the teenager’s movement to put City ahead after 17 minutes.
After Hammers captain Mark Noble lost the ball in midfield, De Bruyne found Jesus in the box and then met his pull-back with a side-footed finish beyond keeper Darren Randolph.
Before West Ham had created a chance of their own in response, City doubled their lead when winger Leroy Sane wriggled past two defenders and slotted across the face of goal for David Silva to convert.
West Ham had an opportunity to halt City’s momentum on the half-hour mark but Aaron Cresswell, set free in behind City’s backline by a looping Andy Carroll pass, horribly miscued an attempted chip.
Six minutes later, City pulled out of reach when Sane pounced upon loose pass and in a flash set up Sterling in the box to roll the ball past Randolph to provide Jesus with an easy finish.
Sterling again was at the centre of City’s fourth goal on 65 minutes. The England winger was tripped in the box by Hammers debutant Jose Fonte and Yaya Toure swept his penalty into the bottom left corner to spark a mass exodus from the London Stadium stands.