MANCHESTER CITY striker Craig Bellamy was pleased to keep the pressure on the leading sides in the Barclays Premier League following a 3-1 win at home to West Ham last night.
Carlos Tevez struck a double, netting either side of Martin Petrov’s free-kick, to leave City three points behind leaders and cross-town rivals Manchester United.
City have a game in hand and after their best start to a season since 1961, Bellamy was happy with his side’s display.
“We have a very good team. We have started the Premier League well and today it was good to get back with a win,” Bellamy said.
“We started well, we wanted to press as high as we could. We got the first goal which helps in a Premier League game. We gave away a sloppy equaliser which made it difficult for ourselves.
“West Ham are a difficult team they are very bright, and in a game like this you are never out of sight.”
West ham boss Gianfranco Zola was disappointed with his team’s display.
The Londoners had equalised in the first half through Carlton Cole’s flick from close range, but were soon behind again following Petrov’s free-kick.
“I am not feeling well now as you can imagine,” the Italian said.
“We didn’t play in the first 45 minutes. When you play a team like City and you concede so much then it is very difficult to come back.
“I think this will be an important week for us, we will have to work hard. There are many things we need to concentrate on.
“We are much better than we are showing right now.”
City manager Mark Hughes praised the movement of his strike duo Bellamy and Tevez as the key to his side’s victory.
“All night Carlos and Craig were a real handful for the opposition, they couldn’t handle them,” he said.
“It was hard for West Ham to stop them from having an influence because their movement and energy was outstanding.
“We executed our game plan perfectly. I think the movement and positioning of our guys, getting into good areas and causing the opposition problems was there for all to see.
“We were also able to get Roque Santa Cruz and Michael Johnson, who has been out for a long time, on at the end so they were another couple of positives on a night of positives.”
On the night, West Ham were totally outclassed, even though Cole did score an equaliser, and on this evidence they will not be the last as City seem to have found an irresistible mix of brilliant attacking play and solid defending.
After finding one set of former supporters no longer regard him with any affection at Old Trafford last week, Tevez knew he was on safer ground with the Hammers who, for all the controversy, will always be grateful for the goals that kept them up.
The respect is mutual and as Tevez raced in front of them after scoring the opening goal from a Petrov cross, he raised an almost apologetic hand of acknowledgement before being besieged by ecstatic team-mates.
And after Cole’s equaliser it was Petrov who put City back in command.
There may have been an element of good fortune about the free-kick City were awarded for Luis Jimenez’s minor shove on Nigel de Jong, but the finish was pretty emphatic as Petrov drilled it into the bottom corner.
City wrapped up victory when a simple offside manoeuvre proved beyond the Hammers defence after Bellamy floated over a free-kick just after the hour mark.
As the visitors raced out, three City men were left to queue up to score, Tevez nodding home from six yards.
It was the end of the goals, but not the chances.
The best came to Barry who went close with a thunderous effort before Santa Cruz made his debut after spending all the time since his move from Blackburn recovering from knee surgery.
MAN CITY: Given, Zabaleta, Toure, Lescott, Bridge, Wright-Phillips (Santa Cruz 80), De Jong, Barry (Johnson 89), Petrov, Tevez, Bellamy.
WEST HAM: Green, Faubert, Da Costa, Tomkins, Ilunga, Diamanti, Kovac (Stanislas 71), Parker, Noble, Jimenez (Hines 71), Cole.
Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved