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City ace Silva is golden boy for Guardiola

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ON TARGET: Bernardo Silva. Photo: Reuters

ON TARGET: Bernardo Silva. Photo: Reuters

REUTERS

ON TARGET: Bernardo Silva. Photo: Reuters

Pep Guardiola has hailed Bernardo Silva for becoming an automatic starter in Manchester City's quadruple bid.

Portugal midfielder Silva scored one and made the other for Sergio Aguero in City's routine 2-0 Premier League win at Fulham on Saturday.

Silva (24) bossed the game at Craven Cottage as the Citizens edged a step closer towards an unprecedented quadruple.

Manager Guardiola admitted he is left with no choice but to keep selecting Silva, given his scintillating form.

"What Bernardo has done this season is a consequence of the way he accepts his role," said Guardiola.

"He works so hard and the rewards are there. Right now with the way he plays I cannot do anything else but put him on the pitch and let him play.

"He's so important for us. What he's done for us is the best."

Guardiola believes City must win all seven remaining league games to retain their title amid a tense battle with Liverpool.

Silva deflected Guardiola's praise despite his starring role in south west London, insisting all that matters is that City keep winning.

"It's most important for the team to keep winning," Silva said.

"Then if it's me scoring or Kun (Aguero) or Raz (Raheem Sterling) or Leroy (Sane) or Riyad (Mahrez) it doesn't really matter, what matters is three points.

"We were very motivated, knowing that Liverpool had one more game than us, knowing that they were top of the league and we had to get back there." City's travelling fans toasted the win by singing tributes to life president Bernard Halford, who died in midweek.

Dedicated

And Silva dedicated the Fulham victory to Halford and his family.

"Everyone was sad for the news, he was a very important person for the club and the fans, so this win is for him," Silva added.

Guardiola can sense the growing excitement as talk of an historic quadruple intensifies. City manager has previously played down the chances of his side completing an unprecedented clean sweep of all four trophies available to them.

But with the business end of the season now approaching, Guardiola recognises City are in an enviable position and he is relishing the challenge.

He is also boosted by a near fully-fit squad, with his players returning from the international break refreshed.

The Spaniard said: "We are privileged to be in all the competitions almost at the beginning of April and to fight for the title. It's an incredible experience.

"I don't know how many teams in Premier League history have been in this position fighting for four titles. We are and it's nice and it's good.

"I think they are fresh mentally and in the legs and we are going to try."

Scott Parker's Fulham strugglers could follow Huddersfield, who were relegated on Saturday, and return to the Championship with defeat at Watford tomorrow night.