Belfast Telegraph

Monday 30 May 2016

Milner sympathy for Gerrard

Published 12/05/2014

James Milner, left, felt for his England team-mate Steven Gerrard when Liverpool slipped in the title race
James Milner, left, felt for his England team-mate Steven Gerrard when Liverpool slipped in the title race

James Milner admits he felt for his England captain Steven Gerrard at the moment the title race swung decisively in Manchester City's favour.

Gerrard's Liverpool looked on course to pip City to the Barclays Premier League crown before the Reds skipper slipped to allow Chelsea to score a crucial goal at Anfield last month.

Chelsea went on to claim a victory that proved fatal to Liverpool's title chances as City then seized a chance to snatch the trophy.

Their success was confirmed with a 2-0 win over West Ham at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, a result which left Liverpool two points behind in the runners-up spot.

City midfielder Milner said: "We needed them to drop points and that was the game they came in.

"I am disappointed for him as an England team-mate - he has had a great season, Liverpool have had a great season.

"I think it shows the competitiveness of the league, it was so close.

"It wasn't a two-horse race, there were three or four teams right until the end of the season.

"For us to come out on top is amazing. You can't put into words how difficult it is to win the Premier League."

Things might have been lost for City as they were beaten at Anfield last month and then held to a draw at home by relegation battlers Sunderland.

But Milner feels the team deserves credit for refusing to give up on their title quest.

The 28-year-old said: "The disappointment was there because it was out of our hands, we had to rely on a favour then.

"But you can see this team - and not only this year, in years gone by - we never give in. We will keep fighting to the end.

"We had a bit of luck with the Liverpool results, as they also dropped points against Crystal Palace, but to go and win the last four games like we did, under severe pressure, shows the character in the team and the manager's determination."

Manager Manuel Pellegrini has also overseen Capital One Cup success in what has been an impressive first season in the English game.

The Chilean appears to have fulfilled the numerous objectives he was set when he took over from Roberto Mancini, chiefly uniting a fractured dressing room, winning trophies and playing attractive football.

Milner said: "I think when he came in he changed a few things pre-season - the way we defended and he said he wanted us to play attacking, and not change, whatever the score was or how it was going.

"He wanted us to play the same way for 95 minutes, not take our foot off the gas, not sit back if we were winning and keep going and try to get the next goal.

"I think you can see that by the amount of goals we have scored this year, and defensively we have been pretty solid as well."

Milner himself has played a crucial part in City's season, even though he has not been a regular starter.

That is a status he is comfortable with, although he concedes he does not know what his future holds beyond next season.

Milner, a £26million signing from Aston Villa in 2010, said: "Who knows? I have got one year left on my contract.

"I have been at the club four years now and enjoyed every minute.

"We have managed to win a few trophies along the way and that is why I came here, to win trophies. That's amazing.

"I just want to contribute as much as I can and play as many games as I can, and help the club to win trophies.

"It'd be nice to defend it next year but first of all we have to enjoy it. These days don't come along too often.

"Before you know it we'll be back for pre-season."

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