LONDON (REUTERS) - Manchester City climbed to within one point of third-placed neighbours United with a comfortable 2-0 Premier League victory over West Ham United on Sunday to end a difficult week on a high.
James Collins' freak own goal and Sergio Aguero's 20th league strike of the season secured a routine win and the only surprise was that City failed to add to their lead after the Argentine's 36th-minute effort.
The victory came after a bad week in which City were beaten 4-2 by United in the Manchester derby, prompting speculation about the future of manager Manuel Pellegrini and a number of leading players.
City playmaker David Silva was carried off on a stretcher in the second half with a head injury after he was caught by the elbow of Cheikhou Kouyate.
Champions City have 64 points, one behind United, who lost 1-0 at Chelsea on Saturday, and two adrift of second-placed Arsenal who have a game in hand.
West Ham, who climbed as high as fourth in the table in December, remained 10th.