Pep Guardiola labelled forwards Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez an “incredible weapon” after the pair struck during a gritty 2-1 win at Fulham which returned Manchester City to the Premier League summit.
The champions had not been top since February 17 and were made to work hard to move above Arsenal by a determined Fulham side.
Marco Silva’s men showed their resilience after Haaland scored his 50th goal of the season from a spot-kick to give City the lead after just three minutes.
The Cottagers found a leveller through Carlos Vinicius, but it was a touch of class from Alvarez, who restored the visitors’ advantage in the first half – a strike that eventually secured all three points for Guardiola’s men.
The City manager praised his strike partnership, with Haaland taking his tally of league goals to a record-equalling 34 (alongside Alan Shearer and Andy Cole) for the most scored in a single Premier League season.
“I was really impressed that he took the penalty with the mentality that he has, strong and another goal helps us with Julian,” Guardiola said.
“Julian all the time helps us, he’s incredible, every time he plays he gives us everything.
“Quality goals and assists. Today with the penalty assist from Riyad (Mahrez) and after he has done so… we have two strikers when we need people in the box.
“These two guys are an incredible weapon that we have.”
Great result at a tough place to go! Away support was 🔥 Juliiiiii wow what a finish 😍🏻 pic.twitter.com/kEAsoAeWcC
World Cup-winner Alvarez has found opportunities somewhat limited this season, but Guardiola hinted he might find a way to play both the 23-year-old and Haaland.
“If you play almost all the games to be world champions for Argentina. He has something unique,” he said.
“But it has been a lot to understand that maybe in the future there can be something to make them both play. Especially in tight games.”
Ream has played every minute of Fulham’s Premier League campaign until he was forced off, while Pereira has been a key man since joining in the summer from Manchester United.
“Always difficult to take when you get the defeat,” Silva said. “It was what’s happened this afternoon.
“But the first thing is to mention that the worst thing that happened was not the result but the injuries to two players.
Talk us through that finish, @julianalvarezzz 😮💨
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 30, 2023
“Unfortunately for us it looks like serious situations in both cases.
“Tim Ream is probably not playing anymore this season and has broken his arm, let’s hope Andreas Pereira is not so serious.