Belfast Telegraph

Silva sets sights on Chelsea

Manchester City playmaker David Silva believes the champions are now in position to turn up the heat on Chelsea.

City have hit form in the past month with a run of eight consecutive victories - one short of a club record - in all competitions.

That sequence has carried them into the last 16 of the Champions League and wiped out the eight-point advantage Chelsea held over them at the top of the Barclays Premier League just last month.

The Londoners do still have a game in hand - at Stoke on Monday night - but after an indifferent spell in October and November, City now have momentum.

Silva said: "Big teams have to get used to this type of pressure, and we need to replicate it until the end of the season and win as many trophies as we can.

"We were eight points behind Chelsea a few weeks ago and now we have the same number of points - at least until they play on Monday - so maybe we can put a bit of pressure on them.

"But we will focus on ourselves and hope they drop some points."

Silva was at the heart of City's latest victory, scoring twice in Saturday's 3-0 defeat of troubled Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium.

With strikers Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic all injured, the Spaniard played in a central role just behind makeshift centre-forward James Milner.

The 28-year-old, for all his attacking prowess and technical brilliance, is not a renowned goalscorer but he seemed to revel in the responsibility.

Silva put City ahead with a deflected strike early in the second half and doubled the lead on the hour before Yaya Toure wrapped up the points late on.

"I like to play in the middle, even though I can play on both wings," said Silva, who was making only his second start after an eight-game lay-off with a knee injury.

"When I play in the middle I get chances to score, and that is why I scored the two goals.

"But I will be happy to help the team when the strikers are back.

"I am very happy for the two goals but I am really delighted because I have just come back. What I love most is to play, so I just want to continue playing."

City will hope to keep up the pressure by carrying their form through the Christmas programme.

They travel to West Brom on Boxing Day before hosting Burnley two days later. Sunderland are their visitors on New Year's Day with Sheffield Wednesday the opponents in the FA Cup third round on January 4.

It is a congested programme but one Silva, signed from Valencia in 2010, is now well used to.

He said: "It's the way the competition is, and in years past I have played on Boxing Day and December 28, and haven't lost a game.

"It is difficult to do that and then raise your game again for New Year's Day, but playing here you just have to accept that. We are looking forward to it.

"I will celebrate with my family on Christmas Eve. They always come here and it is nice because I don't see them in the whole year.

"The best celebration would be to win at West Brom. Christmas is better when you win so we are hoping for three points."

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