‘He saves us – otherwise Arsenal are champions’: Guardiola hails Ortega

Pep Guardiola said that his back-up goalkeeper, Stefan Ortega, had kept alive Manchester City’s hopes of a historic fourth consecutive English top-flight title as he looked ahead to another instalment of final-day drama against West Ham.

City won 2-0 at Tottenham on a night when the home manager, Ange Postecoglou, muttered darkly about “fragile foundations” at his club – both “inside and outside”. It felt as though he was criticising the attitude of some people, although he seemed to spare the players whom he said had “matched” City.

Related: Manchester City edge towards Premier League title after Haaland sinks Spurs

Erling Haaland scored both of the City goals but it was Ortega, who came on for the injured Ederson, who helped to preserve the result. At 1-0 he made huge one-on-one saves to deny the Spurs substitute Dejan ­Kulusevski and Son Heung-min.

City will be crowned as cham­pions for a sixth time under ­Guardiola if they can beat West Ham. ­Arsenal, who are two points back, host ­Everton.

Guardiola recalled City’s 2021-22 title when they beat Aston Villa 3-2 on the final day, having been 2-0 down with 15 minutes to play. He predicted he and his players would suffer again.

On Ortega, he said: “He saves us – otherwise Arsenal are champions. That is the reality. The margins are so tight. Oh my God, the save from Son. It was incredible. One-on-one, Stefan is one of the best keepers I’ve seen in my entire life. It’s the German culture – stand up, don’t go down.”

Postecoglou dropped a bombshell when he said that “the last 48 hours have revealed to me that the foundations are fairly fragile”, adding: “It just means I’ve got to go back to the drawing board with some things.”

The Australian was snappy when asked to elaborate. “Outside, inside, everywhere,” he said. “It’s been an interesting exercise. It’s just my observations. I’m not going to tell you because it’s for me. I’m the one who’s got to do it. I probably misread the situation as to what I think is ­important in your endeavour to become a winning team. I already know what I want to do … it’s just I’ve got to make some adjustments to how I do it.”

The build-up to the game had been dominated by discussion about whether the Spurs support would want to get a result as it would hand ­Arsenal the initiative in the title race. The atmosphere inside the stadium was subdued, although Spurs played well.

Postecoglou was asked whether it had affected the players. “Of course it does,” he replied. “It is what it is. I can’t dictate what people do. They’re allowed to express themselves any way they want. But yeah, when we’ve got late winners in games it’s because the crowd’s helped us.”