By Andy Hampson, PA
Manchester City midfielder Rodri believes the champions are now starting to hit their stride.
City claimed their fifth successive win in all competitions on Sunday as they ground out a hard-fought 2-1 success over West Ham amid heavy snow at the Etihad Stadium.
The result took City within a point of leaders Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table.
Rodri said: “I think we are in the best shape of the season, not because of results but the way we play – the chances we have, the chances we concede. We are conceding fewer.
“We are good in all senses. We just have to keep going in the same run, knowing that every game is going to be a final, every game is going to be difficult.
“In this Premier League you have to go 100 per cent all the games.”
City had the better of a tight contest against the Hammers with Aymeric Laporte and Riyad Mahrez hitting the woodwork as well as Ilkay Gundogan tapping them ahead in the first half.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) November 28, 2021
Yet the snow, which obscured the line markings and needed to be cleared during an extended half-time interval, made the going tough and it was not until substitute Fernandino’s 90th-minute strike that victory was secured.
Manuel Lanzini scored an injury-time consolation for the visitors, who had earlier gone close to making it 1-1 when Declan Rice forced Ederson into a good save from distance.
“This team (West Ham) is always so difficult,” said Rodri. “They are so strong between the lines, very narrow, very good defensively.
“It was good we scored early when the weather conditions in the first half were not good.”
Visibility was so poor late in the first half that the game could easily have been halted. As it happened, the half-time break was timely, allowing groundstaff the opportunity to remove all the snow from the pitch.
City manager Pep Guardiola later hailed the workers as the men of the match and Rodri echoed those sentiments.
“They were amazing,” the Spaniard said. “They let us play in the second half in better conditions and it was so important for us.
“It was such an important three points for us and they were part of this. They were the key members of this game.”
While Rodri felt City were starting to click into gear, West Ham boss David Moyes thought his side lacked punch in attack.
The Londoners remain fourth in the table but the defeat was a second in succession in the Premier League.
Moyes said: “I think we are needing to be better in that area. We had opportunities.
“If you want to be at the top end you need to have forward players who can, individually, beat people, who can create goals and be clean with the chances.
“I don’t think we have been in recent games. We won in Europe in midweek but I still thought in our attacking play we could have been much cleaner with our chances.
“It is something we need to work at because when you play Man City, with the quality they have got, you have got to take your opportunities when you get them.”