Sunday 18 August 2019

Silva welcomes pressure of title race as Manchester derby looms on City horizons

Silva played an influential part as City gained a measure of revenge for their midweek Champions League exit at the hands of Spurs. Photo: Reuters
Silva played an influential part as City gained a measure of revenge for their midweek Champions League exit at the hands of Spurs. Photo: Reuters

Jamie Holland

Bernardo Silva has welcomed the pressure as title-chasing Manchester City prepare for a critical derby at Manchester United this week.

Wednesday's trip to Old Trafford appears to be the biggest hurdle left facing City as they chase another Premier League crown following Saturday's tense 1-0 win over Tottenham.

Much has been made over whether United fans might actually prefer loathed neighbours City to win the title rather than arch-rivals Liverpool, but Silva does not expect that to affect players' thinking.

United are in a tight battle themselves for a top-four spot and Silva thinks they will be just as hungry for the points.

The Portuguese midfielder said: "We are so happy with the win (on Saturday) and now it's on to another tough one against Manchester United which I think will be crucial for the title.

"It's a big game for us, a big game for them. They need points to be in the top four and we need them to fight for the title. So we expect a very difficult game against one of the best sides in England.

"They will be motivated to beat us and we look forward to it. We know we need the win, and the pressure is on - but that's a good thing."

Silva played an influential part as City gained a measure of revenge for their midweek Champions League exit at the hands of Spurs.

His clever cross in the fifth minute opened up the Spurs defence and Sergio Aguero nodded across goal for 18-year-old Phil Foden to head what proved the clincher at the Etihad Stadium.

Spurs had numerous chances to level but City held on in a tense and scrappy finale for three vital points. The major downside for City was another injury to Kevin De Bruyne, who limped off in the first half. The club are awaiting an assessment.

Silva said: "It was a massive win, very important for us, especially after the defeat in the Champions League.

"We wanted to give a response with our fans here at home and I think we did it in the best way possible in difficult conditions. It was very warm outside and we played a very tough team with less than 72 hours to recover. It was three big points."

Silva is one of three City players nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award along with Raheem Sterling and Aguero. The 24-year-old, who is also on the shortlist for Young Player of Year, said: "Of course I would like one of us three to win, that would be nice, but what really matters is we win the Premier League and FA Cup."

Spurs now have a Champions League semi-final against Ajax to look forward to but defeat at the weekend damaged their chances of qualifying for that competition again. Midfielder Eric Dier said: "We have to win every game and we want to win every game. That would always be the objective, no matter what the situation, but of course with the Champions League being so important to us we have to win all our games.

"We want to experience nights like we did the other day and to do that we need to be in the Champions League next year, so I think our motivation is quite clear."

Irish Independent

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