Guardiola hails West Ham ace as a strong player after Sunday’s show

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has described West Ham United’s forward Michail Antonio as a strong player and hard to face.

Guardiola’s sentiments come a day after Antonio played a key role in West Ham United’s 2-2 draw with Premier League defending champions Manchester City at the London Stadium on Sunday. 

Jarrod Bowen struck twice in the first half to give West Ham a healthy 2-0 advantage before Jack Grealish’s volley was deflected into the back of the net and Vladimir Coufal’s own goal restored parity for Guardiola’s Man City. 

Even though Michail Antonio was not on the scoresheet for the Hammers on Sunday, Guardiola admitted the key role played by Antonio in City’s dropping points at West Ham. 

Guardiola said his defensive players were not at their best fitness level but put in an effort to contain the physically fit Antonio. 

“He goes to the gym everyday, this guy is so strong,” Guardiola said. “He’s really, really strong. I want to congratulate Fernandinho and Laporte. They were not fit, not 100%, but they dealt with Antonio, and that is not easy.”

A seventh place finish in the Premier League will secure West Ham United a direct ticket to next season’s Europa Conference League spot.

The Hammers reached this season’s UEFA Europa League semi-finals and lost to German side Frankfurt.