Bernardo Silva says Man City must do better in search for more trophies

Alam Khan 25/08/2018
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Bernardo Silva is in his second season with Manchester City.

Bernardo Silva knows Manchester City are facing greater expectations after their record-breaking achievements last season.

So too is he after the midfielder struggled to become a first choice following his £43 million move from Monaco.

But Bernardo believes the mantra ‘do better’ will help deal with the situation and reflect how he is now feeling more at home.

As they visit newly-promoted Wolves today bidding for a third successive Premier League victory, Pep Guardiola’s side have the challenge of trying to top an incredible campaign that included a landmark 100 league points, the most-ever wins and most goals.

“Yes, expectations are higher for this club, but I think you can always improve,” said Bernardo, who cut short his summer break after the World Cup finals to ensure he was better prepared for this season.

“That’s what we are going to try to do. Playing very good football, similar to last season, but we will always try to do better and better and see what happens.

“I am ready [to play my part]. When you play more minutes you feel more comfortable and confident. I’m trying to do as best as I can – and to help the team.

“After my first season I wanted to come back and do better than that. I have been working hard in the summer. The second season is always easier because you feel more adapted, you feel more at home. That’s how I feel now and I am happy with my start to the season.”

The loss of playmaker Kevin De Bruyne with a knee injury left observers speculating whether that will derail City’s challenge for more honours.

But a 6-1 win over Huddersfield last weekend – following the opening win at Arsenal – sent a clear message to their rivals.

Silva will be looking to step up in Kevin de Bruyne's absence.

Silva will be looking to step up in Kevin De Bruyne’s absence.

Bernardo admits it is an opportunity for others, including himself, to step up while the brilliant Belgian is absent for around three months.

“I think it’s a big blow to lose Kevin, he is one of the best players in the world nowadays,” said the Portugal international.

“But we have a fantastic squad, we will try to do as best as we can to replace him in a way to keep the team winning.

“It’s also a good opportunity for other players as well to show what they can do. It’s a big blow to lose Kevin, but I feel we have the squad to keep going.”

City’s impressive squad depth has been emphasised by the contribution of Bernardo’s former Monaco team-mate Benjamin Mendy after he missed most of last season with a knee ligament injury.

The Frenchman, a popular figure on and off the pitch, was outstanding in the opening two games with his driving runs from left back providing chances galore.

“It’s fantastic to see him perform like this,” said Barnardo. “I knew he is a fantastic player.

“Last season he had that huge injury, but as everyone can see he’s a fantastic player and can help us a lot.

“Every day always happy, making jokes and helping the spirit and atmosphere of the club. Apart from the player, he’s a great person.”

Striker Sergio Aguero benefitted from Mendy’s assists against the Terriers, notching a 13th hat-trick for the club and ninth in the Premier League, just two shy of Alan Shearer’s record mark.

Silva is in awe of Sergio Aguero's goal-scoring exploits.

Silva is in awe of Sergio Aguero’s goal-scoring exploits.

And Bernardo added of City’s all-time record scorer: “It’s fantastic what he has achieved and how he performs.

“I’ve played with Cristiano Ronaldo, Radamel Falcao, Kylian Mbappe and now Kun and Gabriel [Jesus] and it’s fantastic to play with these guys.

“It’s easy to play with a player like Kun because you just give him the ball and he scores. Three more [against Huddersfield] and an amazing performance.

“It’s so good to have him with us. It’s not surprising that he can still do this even after achieving so much. That’s what big players are made of, it’s what they do.

“He keeps scoring and scoring and is never happy with what he achieves. That’s what keeps him going and the team as well. It’s special.”

Special is also how Bernardo describes the Champions League, a major trophy target for City after their disappointing quarter-final exit to Liverpool.

“It’s a different completion, special,” added the 24-year-old, who reached the semis with Monaco in 2017.

“You always have to be focused because 10 minutes can blow the competition for you. You can get knocked out in that time. We will try to do better than last season, but we know it’s very complicated because you have tough teams you will play against. We will work hard to do better than last season.”

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Unai Emery admits Arsenal must beat West Ham after back-to-back defeats

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Unai Emery has acknowledged the importance of a win for Arsenal when they host West Ham United in the Premier League on Saturday.

The Gunners suffered a 2-0 opening day defeat to Manchester City and were defeated 3-2 at Chelsea the following week.

Watch Emery’s comments in the video below.

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Benjamin Mendy's form for Man City among reasons why Leroy Sane is struggling for playing time

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has shocked fans and pundits by leaving Leroy Sane out of his starting line-up for the first two Premier League games.

Sane was one of City’s best player during their record-breaking campaign last season and was voted the Premier League’s Young Player of The Year.

The German international is a nightmare to defend against due to his electric pace, immaculate ball control and terrific balance, making him one of the league’s best wingers.

Sane managed to get his name on the scoresheet ten times last term, whilst also assisting 15 goals as City stormed to the Premier League title.

However, he was left out of the German World Cup squad and even though he managed to score against Liverpool during their US tour, Guardiola saw that he was slightly off the pace during pre-season.

He said: “He needs more minutes and he needs to regain his principles in terms of playing without the ball. He has the talent to do that. Still, he is far away from his best.”

So, why has the 22-year-old only been given 17 minutes of top flight action so far this season?

Keeping him fresh for later in the season

One possible explanation could be that Guardiola is saving the pacey German for when the fixture list becomes congested.

Sane was given 14 minutes against Huddersfield Town and he showed why he is such an attacking weapon when he outpaced a defender to assist City’s sixth goal of the afternoon.

Guardiola knows that City will be challenging in four competitions this season, and it could be that the manager wants to keep Sane fresh and ready for a tough schedule.

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was well-known for deploying a similar tactic with Park Ji-sung and it worked wonders for the Red Devils during long European away fixtures.

Sane also endured a slow start last season and only managed to score two goals in the first five league matches. His best form came deeper into the season and that could be his time to shine once again this year.

Leroy Sane produced his best in the second half of last season

Leroy Sane produced his best in the second half of last season

The return of Benjamin Mendy

French left-back Mendy almost missed the entire season last year with a knee injury, meaning that Sane’s attacking drive on the left flank was much needed.

Mendy has returned this campaign though, and that has led Guardiola to incorporate the full-back higher up the pitch, almost as a left winger.

The former Monaco defender has been one of City’s biggest attacking threats this season and has already registered three assists in just two matches.

With Mendy playing so far up on the left side, there’s not much need for Sane to play at the same time. Given the Frenchman’s fine form, it’s difficult to see Guardiola shift him further back to accommodate Sane.

Benjamin Mendy

Benjamin Mendy

Riyad Mahrez providing extra competition

City secured the signature of Mahrez for £60m over the summer to boost their attacking department and with so many options at his disposal, Guardiola knows that he must rotate his team.

Mahrez, who won the PFA Player of The Year award during Leicester City’s title winning season in 2015/16, started City’s first fixture against Arsenal.

Their quest for the quadruple was cut short last season as they suffered multiple injuries, leaving them with a very thin squad, with Guardiola even naming only six substitutes in a Carabao Cup match against Leicester.

Many of the first team players were required to play every three days which was taking its toll on them, but signing Mahrez gives the manager a chance to rotate his front line on a weekly basis.

Sane is still young and undoubtedly, City will be desperate to keep him at the club for the foreseeable future, but just as midfielder Bernardo Silva had to adjust and play as a wing-back in this new formation, the Germn must quickly adapt to the new demands of his manager if he is to break back into the starting line-up.

Riyad Mahrez

Riyad Mahrez

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