Manchester City can still shrug off their lacklustre Premier League title defence and enjoy the best season in the club’s history, according to Bernardo Silva.
Pep Guardiola’s side are a yawning 22 points behind runaway leaders Liverpool, a virtually unassailable deficit that could be even bigger the next time they take to the field after Sunday’s home match against West Ham was postponed due to the effects of Storm Ciara.
Focus will soon turn towards a mouth-watering Champions League last-16 meeting with Real Madrid, as City travel to the Santiago Bernabeu on February 26 for the first leg.
A Wembley showdown versus Aston Villa on March 1 gives Silva and his team-mates the chance to win a third consecutive EFL Cup, and they remain in the running for back-to-back FA Cups, with a trip to Sheffield Wednesday up next in round five.
The Champions League remains the final frontier, however, and the Portugal playmaker believes glory in Europe’s top competition might even top last season’s unprecedented domestic treble.
“People are used to Man City winning everything. If we look at the last two and a half seasons, there’s not a team in Europe that has won as many trophies as us,” Silva told Sky Sports.
“It’s not that, because we’re not winning one title, the team goes from being one of the best to an average team. If we win the cups and the Champions League, it’s the best season this club have ever seen.
“So there is still a lot to fight for, knowing that we still have a difficult task ahead of us.”
— Bernardo Silva (@BernardoCSilva) January 29, 2020
Nevertheless, Silva was unable to hide his disappointment at the manner in which City have failed to meet Liverpool’s relentless challenge in England’s top flight.
“I think we got to a point one month ago where we gave up a bit too soon and I think we shouldn’t have done that,” he said.
“It was not on purpose, it was in our heads. I think everyone was already a bit disappointed to be 10 or 15 points behind them and we felt a bit down. We shouldn’t have done it.
“It’s difficult because we’re a team used to winning and last season we won everything in England. When we don’t win a competition, we’re upset with ourselves and always want to do better.”
Silva recalled City’s former knack of snatching vital late goals during his debut campaign at the Etihad Stadium in 2017-18, before adding: “In the important moments, we’ve not been as lucky as in the past seasons – we always concede in the last minutes, Liverpool always score in the last minutes, and these little details make the difference.
“The team has to try to find the balance. When things go well, not thinking that we’re the best ever, and when things go a little bit not as well as we expect, not to think we’re the worst team ever.”
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