Pep Guardiola: Dry pitch helped ‘so lucky’ Man City beat Nottingham Forest

Pep Guardiola believes “incredibly fortunate” Manchester City were aided by the dry state of the City Ground pitch in their 2-0 win over wasteful Nottingham Forest.

City reeled in Premier League leaders Arsenal as goals from Josko Gvardiol and Erling Haaland at Forest reduced the gap to one point at the top with a game in hand, making themselves favourites for a fourth successive title.

It was far from their best performance, though, and were grateful to Forest for wasting four gilt-edged chances as Chris Wood missed two sitters and Neco Williams and Murillo also were denied from close range.

Nottingham Forest v Manchester City – Premier League – City Ground
Manchester City remained a point behind Arsenal after beating Nottingham Forest 2-0 (Mike Egerton/PA)

Guardiola said those opportunities were missed because the pitch was dry and the ball bounced high.

“It was really hard, harder than last season when we drew here,” the Spaniard said. “We knew before the game that was going to happen and we were so lucky and fortunate today that the pitch was so dry and high.

“With the chances they had with a better pitch condition they would have scored. We were incredibly fortunate for that.

“Nothing was wrong with the pitch. It was dry from the weather and the sun and that helped us.

“When we play at home we decide the way we play, when we play away we adapt. We were lucky that the chances they had they could not contact with the ball.”

The title race looks like going down to the wire, but it is in City’s hands and they know if they win all four of their remaining games they will be champions again.

With the Gunners looking in imperious form, Guardiola does not think City can afford drop any points.

“We prefer they (Arsenal) lose, we cannot control what they do, they make a good result,” he said.

“Four games left, I don’t think we can lose any points and we know exactly what we have to do.”

Goalkeeper Ederson left the City Ground with a sling on after picking up a shoulder injury in a clash with Forest defender Moussa Niakhate.

Guardiola added: “He doesn’t look good, we will see in the morning with the doctor. It’s his shoulder.”

Defeat for Forest, who cannot blame perceived VAR injustices this weekend, leaves them firmly in the mire, currently a point above 18th-placed Luton with three games to go.

There remains an asterisk next to Forest’s name in the table, though, as they wait to hear the outcome of their appeal against a four-point deduction for breaking financial rules.

That could happen early next week and Nuno Espirito Santo wants it resolved.

“We are all waiting on that decision, we are hoping that it is very soon so we can deal with the reality,” the Forest head coach said.

“We don’t know exactly how many points we are on; 26, 28 or 30. Let’s wait and see.

“It will make a big difference. Not just for us, for everybody, all the league.”