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Guardiola hails progress as five-star City put unhappy Hammers to sword

West Ham United 0-5 Manchester City

By Andy Simms

Pep Guardiola hopes Manchester City’s 5-0 of thrashing West Ham in the FA Cup third round will give his players more self-belief.

Yaya Toure’s penalty, an own goal from Havard Nordtveit and further strikes from David Silva, Sergio Aguero and John Stones earned City a resounding win at London Stadium.

Boss Guardiola said: “Finally, we were able to keep the ball more than the last games, where it was almost impossible, so we played much, much better in that sense.

“We create more chances when that happens and we concede few and of course it helps us a lot.

“Before the penalty we had three or four clear chances and after the second and third goal it was easy for the second half,” he insisted.

“Always it is important to win away, it’s not easy in West Ham in the cup.

“Hopefully it can help us to make our players believers that they are good enough to play every game. They have to believe they are able to compete wherever.”

The penalty decision which opened the floodgates may have been debatable, but the result was not and vindicated Guardiola’s decision to field a strong line-up.

The City boss has endured a strange week after a defeat at Liverpool and a series of tetchy post-match interviews following the win at Burnley.

But rather than weaken his team for his first FA Cup tie, the Spaniard proved he is taking the competition seriously by recalling Silva and Aguero.

West Ham, by contrast, started with their star man Dimitri Payet on the bench and immediately found themselves under the cosh.

Silva’s early cut-back found Pablo Zabaleta, whose goalbound shot was bravely blocked by Winston Reid, before Gael Clichy set up Silva only for his effort to be kept out by Adrian at the near post.

Raheem Sterling was then denied by a superbly timed Reid tackle and from the resulting corner Adrian tipped Aguero’s volley over.

The pressure was always going to tell, though, and in the 32nd minute Zabaleta tumbled to the floor under Angelo Ogbonna’s challenge.

There was only minimal contact but referee Michael Oliver quickly pointed to the spot and Toure stepped up to lash the penalty past Adrian.

West Ham may have felt hard done by but there was no justification for the collapse which followed.

They did almost hit back immediately when Michail Antonio forced a save out of Willy Caballero, but Sofiane Feghouli was unable to tuck the rebound into an unguarded net.

That proved a false dawn as City doubled their lead in the 41st minute, Sterling arriving at the far post and forcing an own goal from Nordtveit as he tried desperately to clear Bacary Sagna’s cross.

Suddenly it was all too easy for City as two minutes later Sterling took his turn to race down West Ham’s unmanned left-hand side.

The England international laid the ball across goal to Silva, who from six yards out had time to take a touch, steady himself, and probably do a crossword had he felt like it, before slotting in the third.

Five minutes after the interval it was four, Toure rifling a shot through a crowded area and Aguero diverting the ball into the net.

A chastening evening for West Ham got even worse six minutes from full-time when the visitors’ £47.5m man Stones headed in Nolito’s corner, as Guardiola served notice that City might just fancy a crack at lifting the famous trophy in May.

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