BOURNEMOUTH, Feb 25 — Phil Foden fired Manchester City to a 1-0 win against Bournemouth as the Premier League title chasers moved within one point of leaders Liverpool on Saturday.

With Liverpool in League Cup final action against Chelsea on Sunday, City took advantage to close the gap in their game in hand on Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Foden netted in the first half at Dean Court and City survived a rocky second half to win for the 13th time in their last 14 games in all competitions.

Chasing an unprecedented fourth successive Premier League title, Pep Guardiola’s men weren’t at their best on the south coast but displayed the resolve required to grind out a vital victory.

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“Phil Foden is playing the best football I have seen from him. Everyone made a contribution and I’m really pleased,” Guardiola said.

“I don’t know how much longer we arrive in all competitions but still, we are there. They are supermen.”

Frustrated by City’s lack of preparation time amid a hectic schedule, Guardiola added: “They had seven days to prepare for this game but we had three. There are teams who play with less recovery than the other one in the Premier League.

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“In general it was unbelievable the way we defended because we needed it. When you don’t have recovery and the players are tired, you cannot expect to be perfect because they are human beings.”

While Liverpool remain in pole position, City are hot on their heels after extending their unbeaten run in all competitions to 17 games since losing at Aston Villa in December.

Saluting City’s dynastic reign in the Premier League, Guardiola said: “Every three days for years, not just this season, years. It is difficult but they are still winning. My admiration to all the players is unbelievable.”

City head to Luton in the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday before hosting Manchester United in a crucial league game next weekend.

Guardiola left Kevin De Bruyne on the bench, but City were quickly into their stride.

Foden flicked a pin-point pass to Erling Haaland, who swept towards goal only to misfire with a drive that whistled wide.

Bournemouth almost made Haaland pay for that miss when Milos Kerkez’s well-struck effort forced a fine save from Ederson.

But City were quickly back on the offensive as the live-wire Foden brought Bournemouth keeper Neto into action for the first time with a long-range blast.

It was a warning Bournemouth failed to heed as Foden put the visitors ahead in the 24th minute.

Haaland muscled his way into the penalty area and drilled a shot that Neto could only push out to Foden, who had the simple task of tapping into the empty net.

City on ropes

Foden’s 16th goal in all competitions this season was almost followed by a Bernardo Silva moment of magic when the City midfielder curled narrowly wide.

Bournemouth are without a league win in seven games since Boxing Day, but they recovered to give City a genuine scare.

Ederson saved well from Ryan Christie’s strike just before half-time and the Brazilian was called into action again immediately after the interval.

Justin Kluivert was given too much time and space outside the City area and the Bournemouth forward’s low drive was repelled by Ederson at full stretch.

After another narrow win against Brentford in midweek, Guardiola was again shifting uneasily on the touchline as Bournemouth grew in confidence.

Marcus Tavernier wasted a chance to equalise with a poor finish from Antoine Semenyo’s cross.

Tavernier was guilty of an even worse miss moments later, scuffing wide from 10 yards with the goal at his mercy.

Usually so unruffled, City were reeling for once, but Ederson preserved their lead with a superb save from Dominic Solanke’s header.

In his last action before being replaced by Julian Alvarez, Haaland’s powerful surge ended with a good save by Neto.

City were nervous right up to the final whistle, but Bournemouth’s Dango Ouattara squandered a good chance before Enes Unal’s header crept inches wide. — AFP