Manchester City 3 Fulham 0: Anticipation or diving? Johnson is inclined to feel there is a distinction

Adam Johnson insists he did not take a dive to set up Manchester City’s latest league triumph by earning a penalty.

Many felt Johnson had gone to ground far too easily when Fulham defender Chris Baird made a ninth-minute challenge.

However, Johnson did win some support from others, including Cottagers boss Martin Jol, who admitted he had managed players who would have done exactly the same thing.

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But, after being an integral figure in the win, Johnson claimed he did nothing wrong.

“I felt the contact,” the England winger said. “Sometimes in normal time, when you are in the moment, you anticipate contact.

“There is a fine line between diving and anticipating contact but I felt it and went down. These things happen.”

City had good reason to be thankful for Johnson’s actions.

With just three wins in their last nine games, facing opposition that had lost just once in eight visits to the Etihad Stadium and in conditions so bad referee Mike Dean had to stop the game twice after half-time so the lines could be cleared of snow, the Blues might have been ripe for a shock.

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Instead, they strolled to a 17th consecutive Premier League home win, just two behind the record held by Manchester United.

Nevertheless, not everyone was entirely happy.

“It was an horrendous game,” said City goalkeeper Joe Hart.

“It was cold. We weren’t great and they weren’t great and the standard was horrendous.

“It is what you expect in conditions like that.

“But we have got it out of the way now and hopefully it won’t happen again.”

Sergio Aguero bagged the first when he converted the early spot-kick, then set-up Edin Dzeko later in an eye-catching moment of unselfishness.

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The South American nearly created another for himself too, part of an overall contribution that contrasts with the non-appearance of fellow countryman Carlos Tevez, who remains in Argentina but at least avoided playing in a testimonial for good friend Martin Palermo on Saturday night.

Johnson, the £7m former Middlesbrough winger, was a constant menace, and forced Baird into conceding an own goal that effectively wrapped up the points after just half an hour.

“Adam did well,” said manager Roberto Mancini.

“He deserved to have this chance and I hope he can continue because now we have three important months and we need him.”