Cape Town - Pep Guardiola conceded that the pitch played a part in Manchester City’s important win over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium on Monday, with Erik Lamela’s second-half miss the key moment.
The Argentine looked odds on to score late on as Spurs pushed to cancel out Riyad Mahrez’s early opener but fired wildly over the bar after being set up by Dele Alli, although replays showed that the ball bobbled just before Lamela connected.
With the surface at the national stadium still patchy after hosting several NFL matches in recent weeks, Guardiola said that the poor state of the pitch contributed to the lack of quality on display
“Of course, it was a good victory against a tough opponent, one of the more physical opponents I have faced in my career,” said the Spaniard.
“Congratulations to both sides because it was a good game in difficult conditions with the pitch.
“To play a football game in that pitch is not easy. That’s why there were many mistakes that usually should not happen.”
“Lamela had a clear chance and due to the grass, they did not score,” he added. “If the grass is good, Lamela with his quality in his left foot is in a better position to score a goal.”
“Of course, it’s a good victory, for the conditions and the tough opponents. Congratulations to both sides.”
Spurs boss Pochettino also blamed the pitch for Lamela’s miss.
"When the ball was going to Erik I said 'goal' but no, watching the replay, the ball just bounced before his boot and that is why he missed.
"I think it was a great game in difficult circumstances. I feel very proud. The effort was fantastic, and we competed really, really well. It is a shame we conceded after five minutes but the team was good. I am happy with the performance."