A brace from Gabriel Jesus was enough for the Premier League champions to see off the threat of Carlo Ancelotti’s side
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has hailed his side’s fighting spirit after they held off Everton in a 2-1 win on Wednesday.
Gabriel Jesus scored a second-half double for City to give his side a two-goal lead, before Richarlison’s 71st-minute strike made it a nervy finish for Guardiola’s men at the Etihad Stadium.
City did manage to hold on for the win, giving new Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti his first defeat with the Toffees after two straight wins to begin his tenure.
Guardiola’s side have now won five consecutive league meetings with Everton for the first time ever.
Speaking to BT Sport after the game, Guardiola said he was pleased to see his side keep pace with second-place Leicester, who defeated Newcastle earlier in the day.
“We played great so I am delighted for the guys,” Guardiola said. “This period is so tough. We did really well. Three more points and closer to Leicester.
“When you are far away from the first position sometimes people give up, but we never give up. We have to keep going. We have FA Cup then the EFL Cup.
“Other teams dropped points for the top four so it was an important win.”
Following a costly defeat to Wolves last Friday, City have managed to bounce back with consecutive wins over Sheffield United on Sunday and now Everton.
City now find themselves 11 points back of first-place Liverpool, who have two games in hand ahead of a match against Sheffield United on Thursday.
Perhaps a more realistic target for two-time defending champions City is second-place Leicester, who are one point ahead of them.
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Guardiola’s men picked up a domestic treble last season and though another Premier League title appears to be a long shot, they are still in the running for cup glory.
The face Port Vale on Saturday in the third round of the FA Cup before tackling local rivals Manchester United three days later in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final.
City are back in league action on January 12 when they take on Aston Villa at Villa Park.