Barry hails vibrant Swans as sluggish City scrape success
GARETH Barry paid tribute to Swansea City after Manchester City ground out victory over Michael Laudrup's men at the Etihad on Saturday.
Swansea had been written off as 15-1 rank outsiders before kick-off and ultimately the bookmakers got it right thanks to Carlos Tevez's spectacular winner.
But Laudrup's side gave City a fright, and came away feeling frustrated having created the better chances against much more celebrated opponents.
"Our fans might have been expecting a reaction after we lost to Ajax, but sometimes it's not that easy," said England midfielder Barry. "You have to give credit to the opposition — they made it tough for us. Swansea came with a game plan and it was frustrating for us at times.
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"It wasn't our greatest performance, but we got across the line with a clean sheet. We're second in the table and now we can look ahead.
"We didn't create that much so it was always going to take something like Carlos's strike to win it for us."
If Argentina star Tevez was City's best performer, goalkeeper Joe Hart also had a huge influence on the game.
The England man is widely regarded as the best stopper in the Premier League right now, and he showed why with two key saves to deny Michu.
It was only City's second clean sheet in the league this season, and it was crucial to maintaining their unbeaten start in the league.
"Joe played well but that's why he is there," said city boss Roberto Mancini, whose side needed a result after defeat at Ajax left their Champions League chances hanging by a thread.
"Our performance in the first half was so-so because we were very tired.
"In the second half we played much better and had lots of chances to score, but I think when you are in a bad moment after losing in the Champions League it was just important to start winning again. We played three days ago and that showed in the first half, Swansea were fresh and they played very well.
"We knew before the game Swansea would be a tough game.
"They had an excellent season last year and this season they have continued to play very well.
"It was a difficult game for many reasons, they were fresh and we were very tired and also they play very good football.
"We have lots of players injured so it is hard for us to change players and we have players that are very tired so it is important to get the three points."
Mancini saluted Tevez, who had not scored in eight games before the weekend.
"Carlos played well but he also played well against West Brom (nine days ago)," he added.
"He worked very hard for the team then and didn't score, but he got the goal he deserved here. It was a very important goal for us and him."