Bernardo Silva believes Manchester City’s squad are coming back together at the right time as they chase glory in four competitions.
Kevin De Bruyne and Benjamin Mendy have missed large chunks of the campaign through injury, while the likes of David Silva, Fernandinho, Sergio Aguero and Ilkay Gundogan have had spells out recently.
But the champions are now getting close to returning to full strength, with Mendy the only key player sidelined with a serious injury, and there are hopes he could be back in action before the end of the month.
City illustrated the depth of their squad as they named De Bruyne, Aguero and Riyad Mahrez on the bench for Monday’s clash with Wolves and still eased to a 3-0 win.
“It feels like we have all the squad, which is important because we need all of them,” said playmaker Silva. “It is good finally to be back together.
“Of course until this moment of the season we have had so many injured players, we never played with the whole squad. To have almost the whole squad available is fantastic for us and it is very good to try and go for all the competitions.”
Silva, 24, has no issue with the fact that means increased competition for his own place.
“That is what happens when you play in one of the best teams in the world,” he said. “You have fantastic players in your position, you have to work hard to try and play as many minutes as you can.
“That is a good thing. It means you have a good squad. Everyone pushes the other team-mates so you have to work harder to get in the team.”
A good win yesterday! 🔵🔵 pic.twitter.com/M9ToBnztn1— Bernardo Silva (@BernardoCSilva) January 15, 2019
City remain firmly in the title race after Monday’s victory cut Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League back to four points. They are also still competing in both domestic cups and the Champions League.
Their involvement in all those competitions could ultimately amount to playing a considerable number of games more than Liverpool but Silva is confident that would not hamper their title defence.
He said: “Honestly, I don’t think so. I think it is a good sign for us that we are still in all the competitions, that is what we try to do and big teams try to do.
“We will keep going that way, we have a good squad. We will try to make things work, knowing that it is not easy but when you play in a club like Man City, season after season, you get used to playing lots of games at a high level.”
Silva returned to face Wolves after being rested for the cup games against Rotherham and Burton in light of his tireless performance against Liverpool, with statistics showing he ran an impressive 13.7km during that game.
The Portuguese said: “I could feel it was a very intense game from the first minute to the last and we played against a team that also wanted to score goals.
“At the end of the game I felt tired – I could tell I had run a little bit more than usual.”
Copy provided by Press Association Sport
Newcastle survived an FA Cup scare as they beat Blackburn 4-2 after extra time.
Joselu’s controversial strike put the Magpies ahead in extra time before Ayoze Perez sealed a third-round-replay victory.
Sean Longstaff and Callum Roberts scored their first Newcastle goals to put the Magpies 2-0 ahead at Ewood Park, with Longstaff netting after just 56 seconds.
But Adam Armstrong and Darragh Lenihan levelled before half time and neither side could find a winner in 90 minutes.
Blackburn’s Bradley Dack missed an excellent chance in the first half of extra time, shooting wide with just Freddie Woodman to beat.
It came just before Joselu put Newcastle ahead again despite the striker being offside when he cashed in after David Raya’s parry.
Perez added a fourth with a fine angled drive just a minute after the re-start in extra time as Newcastle booked a home tie with Watford.
Elsewhere, Stoke were shocked 3-2 by Shrewsbury as Nathan Jones suffered a second- straight defeat.
The League One visitors hit back from 2-0 down with 19 minutes left and will host Wolves.
Tyrese Campbell’s double put Championship Stoke in charge before Shrewsbury scored three times in 10 second-half minutes.
James Bolton, Fejiri Okenabirhie’s penalty and Josh Laurent’s 81st-minute winner completed a miserable night for Jones.
The new boss lost his first game 3-1 at Brentford at the weekend.
Atdhe Nuhiu secured Sheffield Wednesday a fourth-round trip to Chelsea after a 1-0 FA Cup replay win at Luton.
The striker netted just a minute after the re-start at Kenilworth Road to earn the Sky Bet Championship side victory.
The forward scored after being teed up by strike partner Steven Fletcher 58 seconds into the second half.
Cameron Dawson saved well from Luke Berry and Dan Potts to thwart managerless Luton, who lost Jones to Stoke last week.
Copy provided by Press Association Sport
Tottenham striker Harry Kane has damaged ligaments in his left ankle and is expected to return to training in early March, the Premier League club have announced.
The England captain suffered the injury during the final stages of Spurs’ 1-0 defeat to Manchester United on Sunday, with tests having taken place once the injury settled down.
A statement on the club’s website read: “Following preliminary assessments, we can confirm that Harry Kane has damaged ligaments in his left ankle, sustained during Sunday’s match against Manchester United.
“The striker will continue to be monitored by our medical staff as he commences rehabilitation and is expected to return to training in early March.”
The England captain was injured after being caught in the middle of Phil Jones and Victor Lindelof as Spurs chased an equaliser against United.
It is the third successive season in which Kane has suffered an ankle injury, the most recent one keeping him out for a fortnight last March.
The injury is a huge blow to third-placed Tottenham’s titles hopes, with the loss to United leaving them nine points behind leaders Liverpool.
Kane is now set to miss the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Chelsea, which Spurs lead 1-0, as well as at least six Premier League matches, including the trip to Stamford Bridge on February 27, and the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at home to Borussia Dortmund.
The striker is also hugely likely to be unavailable for the north London derby against Arsenal on March 2 and the return meeting with Dortmund three days later, but could be back in contention for England’s opening Euro 2020 qualifier against the Czech Republic on March 22.