Bernardo Silva has admitted Manchester City’s Premier League title defence has been “a huge disappointment” but is adamant there is still plenty to play for.
Heading into the weekend’s match against West Ham, City are 22 points behind current league leaders Liverpool and have all but conceded their Premier League title.
It is something that has left the City players deflated, Silva says, and he believes the little details have defined their season.
He told Sky Sports: “The Premier League has been a huge disappointment to be so far from Liverpool and now we have to fight for the second position
“It hurts a lot because when you start a season, you always want to go for the Premier League, it’s the main competition and the most important for the fans. So it’s very disappointing, no one expected us to be this far from Liverpool in January or February so it’s something that we need to learn from. We need to understand what failed and how we can solve it.
“I don’t think it’s how you defend or attack, I think it’s a mix of plenty of things. I think little details make a huge difference and if you look at us this season, all the little details never went out way. It’s not an excuse, we should’ve done better, and we are very disappointed in ourselves
“But if you look at the injuries we’ve had, the VAR decisions that never went our way and I’m not complaining, but in football, it sometimes goes your way and sometimes not. We create 30 chances per game and we score one or two goals. The opponents, they go close once or twice and they score one or two goals as well but the game is there.
“The way we play is the same way we’ve been playing over the last few seasons. If you look at the stats, we’re still the team that creates the most chances, scores the most goals but in the important moments, we’ve not been as lucky as in the past seasons. We always concede in the last minute, Liverpool always scores in the last minutes and these little details in football make the difference. The team just has to try and find the balance.”
The two-time Premier League winner is not surprised by Liverpool’s surging lead but Silva once again points to the smallest of margins proving to be the difference for a team that goes on to win the title.
“Liverpool haven’t surprised me, they’re one of the best sides in the world and we knew they were going to be strong this season,” Silva said. “It’s not just luck, they have a lot of merit but with the little details, everything went their way.
“In my first season here when we broke all the records and finished with 100 points, I remember winning three or four games in the 93rd or 94th minute and sometimes things go your way. Sometimes the ball that goes to the post and goes wide sometimes goes to the post and goes in.
“Last season, when we played Liverpool at home, John Stones cleared the ball off the line by a millimetre so these things sometimes make a difference.”
Despite being cut adrift in the Premier League, City are still in three competitions, including the Champions League, which are the overriding positives for Silva.
He added: “We won the Community Shield at the beginning of the season, we’re in the final of the Carabao Cup and we’ve won in the FA Cup where everything is going well. In the Champions League, we finished first of the group and now we have a tough game [against Real Madrid].
“The Champions League is a competition we’ve never won and I’m not going to hide that everyone at this club wants to win it. I’m very excited [about playing Real Madrid]. When you’re a young kid, you dream of playing in these competitions and playing against the best. If we deserve to win the Champions League, you have to really deserve it, you have to beat these teams to win it. It’s tough but it’s something that we’re prepared for.
“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. 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.”
Silva has recently been joined in the Premier League by his Portugal team-mate Bruno Fernandes, who has made the move to the red side of Manchester.
Speaking about his fellow countryman, Silva said: “I think he is going to adapt [to the Premier League], he has already played in Italy when he was younger, so it’s not his first experience aboard. I’m happy for him, I’m happy that he’s playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world and I think he’s going to do great at Man Utd.
“The best thing about Bruno is his mentality and the way he gives himself to the team 100 per cent and he just goes in every game. It doesn’t matter who he’s playing against and his mentality and character is the best thing about him.
“The first time I played with Bruno, we were 18 years old so my first game for Portugal at U19s was also Bruno’s first game for Portugal. Then we played together for the U21s, the national team and now we’re both in Manchester so it’s great. We’re rivals but it’s good to have him here.
“Changing is always complicated, you have to adapt to the way your new team plays, your team-mates, the way the manager wants to play, sometimes new systems so maybe it will take him a few months but I think it’s good that he’s here and he’ll be a great asset for Man Utd – but hopefully not against Man City.”