John Stones believes Manchester City’s free-scoring attack is being fuelled by the competition for places among forwards.
City opened up a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League on Saturday with a 3-0 win over Burnley at the Etihad Stadium.
It was not an emphatic victory in the manner of recent successes against Liverpool, Watford, Crystal Palace and Stoke but it was a professional performance nonetheless in which City again showed their cutting edge.
City have now scored 42 goals in 13 games in all competitions this season and equalled a club record by winning their last 11 games in succession.
Centre-back Stones said: “The strikers are on form now. The competition in training is making them want to be better and score more goals.
“When they are on the pitch they have got to take their chances and that is what they are doing.
“Burnley are a well-organised team, good defensively. They’ve shown that on the road. Coming after the Napoli game, it was never an easy match. To score three against them and keep a clean sheet is massive for us.”
City were made to work hard by the Clarets but controlled possession throughout. Their breakthrough came after 30 minutes following the award of a controversial penalty.
Bernardo Silva was adjudged to have been fouled by goalkeeper Nick Pope, infuriating the visitors who felt the Portuguese had made the most of minimal contact.
Sergio Aguero, making his first appearance since breaking a rib in a car crash three weeks ago, struck from the spot to equal the club’s goalscoring record of 177.
Nicolas Otamendi and the impressive Leroy Sane wrapped up victory in the latter stages.
Stones said: “To keep clean sheets, keep winning and keep beating every opposition that comes in front of us is a new challenge every week.
“Every game is crucial because football is always changing and things can happen. The goal difference and things like that, everything could come into play.”
Burnley’s defeat ended their run of six league games unbeaten but they were not disappointed with the manner of their performance and they remain in a healthy position.
Defender Ben Mee said: “There’s frustration, definitely. We were disappointed with the penalty in the first half and we were hanging in there pretty well when the second goal killed us a bit.
“But we’ll take heart from the game. We’re disappointed with the scoreline but maybe we could have nicked something if it had stayed 1-0.
“There are a lot of positives to take from the way we have played against some of the big teams. It is a credit to the boys and the way we work. We will take this to heart and move on. There’s a lot of confidence in this group.”
* Provided by Press Association
Sergio Aguero achieved a personal milestone with his 177th goal for Manchester City in the 3-0 victory over Burnley.
That saw him equal the all-time record of pre-war forward Eric Brook on his return from three weeks out with the rib injury he suffered in a car accident.
Here, Press Association Sport takes a closer look at Aguero’s performance.
Aguero was not likely to have lost his eye for goal in the three weeks he was sidelined and, although Burnley’s defence were impressive, they struggled to contain the Argentinian.
Aguero’s record from the penalty spot is not the best but he converted the spot-kick expertly following Nick Pope’s foul on Bernardo Silva and would have broken the record in the first half but for two excellent saves from the Burnley keeper.
City’s front unit have torn defences apart this season and Aguero has been a key part of that. The striker again linked up well with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva and was always looking to drive into the area, setting up one one good chance for himself.
City have an embarrassment of riches in attacking areas but Aguero’s qualities should never be overlooked.
The Argentinian was a constant menace to Burnley and once again showed his appetite for hard work, tracking back into his own half to retrieve the ball.
He fittingly received a standing ovation when he was replaced by Gabriel Jesus with 14 minutes left.
Sergio Agüero has now scored 177 competitive goals for Manchester City; equalling Eric Brook’s all-time club record.
History is imminent. pic.twitter.com/1zOekHaGgM
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 21, 2017
Provided by Press Association Sport
Following United’s shock 2-1 defeat to Huddersfield, we look at seven deadly stats from the contest as Jose Mourinho’s men suffered their first Premier League loss of the season.
What did you make of the action?
Let us know your thoughts.
431 – TERRIERS END GOALLESS DROUGHT
Aaron Mooy’s opener for the hosts ended his team’s goalless run in front of goal, which had lasted 431 minutes.
The last time Huddersfield found the back of the net was on September 16, when Belgian Laurent Depoitre scored in a 1-1 draw with Leicester.
As such, Saturday’s strike from the 27-year-old lifted the mood of everyone connected with the blue and white outfit.
7 – LUCKY NUMBER SEVEN FOR HUDDERSFIELD
That was Huddersfield’s first victory in seven matches, with the win very much getting the newly-promoted club back on track this season after a tricky patch of form.
2 – ERRORS COST UNITED DEARLY
It was a dismal afternoon for Jose Mourinho’s men but you have to go back to David Moyes’ era at the club for the last time when the Red Devils committed two errors in the same match that led to the opposition scoring on both occasions.
Christian Eriksen and Emmanuel Adebayor made United pay at Old Trafford back in January 2014, as Spurs claimed a 2-1 victory.
And on Saturday – it was a similar story.
Juan Mata was guilty for the first goal as his loose pass was collected by Tom Ince, with the Englishman’s effort being saved by David de Gea, only for Mooy to tap in the rebound.
Victor Lindelof’s terrible misplaced header led to Laurent Depoitre’s free run at goal as Huddersfield grabbed their second after 33 minutes.
It was a nightmare introduction to the game for the Swede, who had only come on 11 minutes prior to replace the injured Phil Jones.
4 – UNITED CONCEDE AS MANY GOALS IN ONE GAME THAN THEY HAVE ALL SEASON
Prior to their trip to west Yorkshire, United had conceded just two goals all season in the Premier League – but after a torrid afternoon – their goals against column doubled.
United’s defence previously hadn’t been breached since the 2-2 draw at Stoke City (September 9).
23 – UNITED FAIL TO SET CLUB RECORD
Failure to win meant United didn’t set a new club record and reach 23 league points after nine matches for the first time.
17 – LUKAKU’S STRUGGLES AGAINST NEWLY-PROMOTED SIDES
Despite bagging an assist, Romelu Lukaku again couldn’t find the scoresheet against a newly-promoted side.
In his past 24 matches against Premier League newbies, Lukaku has failed to score in 17 of those.
0 – NO JOSE TEAM HAS TURNED AROUND A 2-0 DEFICIT
In nearly 400 matches in Premier League management, a side under the stewardship of Jose Mourinho have never come back and won after being two goals down.
That wait continues.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 21, 2017