Wednesday 13 December 2017

Title is within Man City's grasp, claims James Milner

Manchester City's French defender Bacary Sagna and Manchester City's English midfielder James Milner (R)
Manchester City's French defender Bacary Sagna and Manchester City's English midfielder James Milner (R)

Manchester City midfielder James Milner claims the champions can win their remaining 10 games and retain their Premier League crown.

City and their manager Manuel Pellegrini suffered a barrage of criticism last week after defeats to Barcelona and Liverpool damaged their European and domestic title hopes.

They at least got back to winning ways on the home front in midweek as they edged to a disjointed 2-0 victory over bottom side Leicester at the Etihad Stadium.

Chelsea remain five points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand but, after the late charges that won titles in 2012 and 2014, Milner is not giving up hope.

The England international, who scored City’s second goal against the Foxes in the 89th minute, said: “I think we have played better but it is pleasing to get a result.

“It was important to bounce back after the disappointment of the weekend.

“Now it is about recovering from this period and getting back to 100 per cent, then working on things that we have been struggling on and getting back to the form we know we can hit and have shown in games, for periods of maybe 10, 15 or 20 minutes at a time.

“We have got a bit sloppy. It is important we step that up and do it for the 95 minutes of a game and not just in periods. That is what you need to do to be successful.

“We know what is in front of us now. The remaining games, we have to win, and we are more than capable of doing that. We have done it before.

“It is important we build on this win and take that forward.”

City were not fluent but still created numerous chances and seized the initiative when David Silva struck from close range in first-half stoppage time.

Mark Schwarzer produced several fine saves to prevent further damage but Milner came off the bench to make the result certain in the closing moments.

The result was an important statement by Pellegrini, who had dropped out-of-form captain Vincent Kompany and playmaker Samir Nasri among five changes.

Goalkeeper Joe Hart said: “We’ve had criticism off people who don’t particularly matter to us. What matters is what our manager thinks, and what we think as players. We showed where our heads are at with this result.

“We’ll keep trying to win every game we’ve got, same as we have done for the past couple of years, when we’ve been chasing titles and cups,” he added.

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