Pep Guardiola has sympathised with Erik Lamela after the Manchester City manager confessed the Wembley surface helped City on their way to a 1-0 victory over Spurs.
The fixture was scheduled to take place on Sunday at the new White Hart Lane, but delays to the construction of the stadium have forced Spurs to play their home games at Wembley to the end of the year. Monday's match saw the two sides play on a field that had been torn up from the weekend's NFL action, when the Jacksonville Jaguars played the Philadelphia Eagles in London.
City took the lead early in the first half after Riyad Mahrez swept home a cross from Raheem Sterling, with the former Foxes' striker dedicating his goal to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the Leicester City owner who tragically died over the weekend. Spurs missed a glorious chance to equalise late in the match after Erik Lamela blazed a shot over the bar from 10 yards out.
The state of the turf played a part in Lamela's late miss, with the ball appearing to bobble up before the Spurs winger sent his strike high over the bar. Speaking after the match, Guardiola expressed sympathy for both sets of players having to deal with the state of the pitch, whilst also praising his side for being able to get the job done.
“Lamela had a clear chance and due to the grass they did not score,” the Spaniard said, as quoted by the Independent. “If the grass is good, Lamela with his quality in his left foot is in a better position to score a goal.
“Of course it’s a good victory, for the conditions and the tough opponents. Congratulations to both sides. Of course it was a good victory against a tough opponent, one of the more physical opponents I have faced in my career. Congratulations to both sides because it was a good game in difficult conditions with the pitch.
“To play a football game in that pitch is not easy. That’s why there were many mistakes that usually should not happen.”
Guardiola also revealed that he didn't speak to Mahrez before the clash with Spurs, on what must have been an emotionally hard evening for the former Leicester man.
“Of course all of us spoke with him about how he feels. Of course it’s a big loss for all the families and Leicester especially. Riyad was part of that for many, many years. It was tough but I did not speak with him in terms of how he felt to play today because I know how competitive he is and how he likes to play in big events, big stages. Sometimes playing games helps.”