Manchester: Bernardo Silva has said Manchester City feared they had blown their defence of the Premier League title with last week’s defeat at Newcastle only to receive “a big boost” psychologically from Liverpool.
The champions returned to the top of the table with victory at Everton on Wednesday, one week after Jurgen Klopp’s side missed an opportunity to go seven points clear had they beaten Leicester.
Silva admits City believed they were out of the title race following defeat at Newcastle 24 hours earlier but can now embrace the pursuit of four trophies, claiming it would be “boring” to play only one game a week. He described Liverpool’s draws in their past two outings as having a major impact on the mentality of Pep Guardiola’s squad.
Asked whether going top with 12 games to play was significant, the Portugal midfielder said: “Of course. A few days ago we thought we had lost the Premier League. Now we are top of the league, even if it is because we have played one game more. It is good; it is good to be back in the race and we will do our best to win all our games and do our job.
“After Newcastle it was very tough on us. We were very disappointed, more than anyone else. The players, the staff, we were all very sad because we all thought we had lost the league in that game. Fortunately Liverpool drew against Leicester and that gave us a little bit of hope. Then there was another draw against West Ham and that means the race is on. Mentally, it is a big boost for us. We will try to keep doing our job and don’t relax as we did against Newcastle.”
Guardiola described Chelsea’s visit to the Etihad on Sunday as a final for City, albeit lamenting the lack of recovery time compared with a free week for Maurizio Sarri’s side. Silva, however, welcomes the schedule.
“This win puts a bit of pressure on, not just for Liverpool but for Tottenham as well,” he added. “We have another game on Sunday and we don’t have a lot of time to rest. But that is good. We are still in four competitions, we are still fighting for all of them. That is what we want to do until the end of the season.
“In my opinion it is not problematic at all, especially when you have a squad like ours. If we don’t have injuries — and I hope that we don’t — then I think we can cope no problem at all. The worst thing for us is having to wait to play, when you have seven days or 10 days between games. It is so boring when you have seven days without a game. This is what we love to do. It is good to have lots of games as it means we are fighting for everything. Mentally it is good. We will try to do it.”
Fulham v Man United, 4.30pm
Crystal Palace v West Ham, 7pm
Huddersfield v Arsenal, 7pm
Liverpool v Bournemouth, 7pm
Southampton v Cardiff, 7pm
Watford v Everton, 7pm
Brighton v Burnley, 9.30pm
Tottenham v Leicester, 5.30pm
Manchester City v Chelsea, 8pm
Wolves v Newcastle, midnight