Erling Haaland double at Spurs leaves Manchester City on brink of Premier League title

Erling Haaland taps home Kevin De Bruyne’s cross in Manchester City's win at Tottenham.

Erling Haaland taps home Kevin De Bruyne’s cross in Manchester City's win at Tottenham. Photo: Getty

Pep Guardiola has paid tribute to Manchester City’s back-up goalkeeper Stefan Ortega after a 2-0 win at Tottenham and claimed his “incredible save” could be the difference in the Premier League title race.

Guardiola insisted before Wednesday’s (AEST) match that City’s prospects of an unprecedented fourth consecutive league championship would be over if they failed to win at Spurs.

After a disjointed first-half display they managed to improve and went ahead after 51 minutes when Kevin De Bruyne teed up Erling Haaland for a tap-in.

It was far from straightforward for City afterwards, though, with keeper Ederson forced off on 69 minutes with a swollen eye after he collided with Cristian Romero, but his replacement Ortega stepped up to deny Son Heung-min when he was sent through in the 86th minute.

Six minutes later Haaland tucked away a penalty for his 38th goal this term, after Jeremy Doku had been brought down, to send City two points clear of Arsenal ahead of Sunday’s final round.

“How is a team a team? Because of Ortega’s save. Otherwise Arsenal are champions,” Guardiola admitted.

“That is the reality, the margins are so, so tight.

“Do you know how many times Son punished us in the last seven, eight years? Can I tell you how many goals he scored against us with Harry Kane?

“Oh my God, and I said ‘not again’, but Stefan makes an incredible save.

“In the one against one, he is one of the best keepers I have ever seen in my life.

“He is an incredible keeper, so the club and our trainer made an incredible decision to bring him here.”

A chunk of the pre-match talk centred on whether the home crowd would get behind their team, given rivals Arsenal’s position in the title race.

But Guardiola added: “All the game they (Tottenham) were incredibly aggressive, so I suffered from minute one.

“The people suspect, ‘no, I’m not going to win, we don’t want to give the title to Arsenal,’ it was completely the opposite.”

Guardiola quickly turned his focus to the Hammers’ visit.

“Now? I am tired,” he reflected.

“Relax and tomorrow start to think about West Ham. It is a pleasure to depend on (ourselves) for the last game against a contender like Arsenal.

“The last (defeat) was sixth of December. We are here and we have to win one more game to retain the title.”

Spurs’ Australian boss Ange Postecoglou cut a frustrated figure after their faint hopes of a top-four finish were ended.

“Disappointed to lose. I thought it was a tight game. Big moments for both teams, which they capitalised on and we didn’t,” he said.

“Ultimately if you want to win those games you’ve got to take the big moments. You’ve got to be disciplined and it’s fair to say it’s one of the areas we have let ourselves down in all year.”

-with PA

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