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Pep: Consistency is key

HAPPY MANAGER: Pep Guardiola celebrates Bernardo's goal.

HAPPY MANAGER: Pep Guardiola celebrates Bernardo's goal.

Pep Guardiola insists that Manchester City will not lose focus in the title run-in and won't be deflected by talk of breaking the Premier League record points total.

City dispatched reigning-champions Chelsea at the Etihad with Bernardo Silva’s 46th-minute strike extending the gap to second-place Liverpool to 18 points.

It means that City – boasting the biggest lead ahead of a second-placed side since 2006 – now need a maximum of four league wins to be crowned Premier League champions for the third time.

But the boss believes that records only come as a result of consistent performances.

“What matters is that we are champions, that is what really matters,” said Guardiola.

"I have never spoke with the players about records. We are going to try and play how we did today against Basel and Stoke, that is what I want to see from my team.

“At the end of the season we will see. Records are a consequence of what we have done. If you think about records you forget what you have to do. What you have to do is understand what you need to do to beat opponents.”

READ: Bernardo seals hard-earned win for Blues

READ: Silva savours huge three points

The Blues’ dominance was such that Chelsea failed to record a single shot on target, as City recorded more passes in a Premier League game than any other side since records began in 2003-04.

And Guardiola was delighted with his team’s display.

“We created enough to win the game, score more goals,” he said. “Our high pressing was outstanding so we are so happy because it's another step forward to be champions. We have 76 points.

“We had to be careful against the counter-attacks, Hazard, Willian and Pedro are all quick players but we controlled it and we were quick with the ball, nobody was making extra passes or extra touches. It's not easy when they defend with nine players in their box.”

Asked if he foresaw such blistering form in the Premier League at the start of the season, Guardiola said: “No way! Who could believe it? The players don’t believe it either. In terms of results and the way we play, so far we are so good. This is a consequence of the way we play.”

Sergio Agüero’s wait for a 200th City goal may go on another game, but Guardiola believes that the Argentine is in the best form of his tenure since taking the reins in July 2016.

“Since we were together here this is best Sergio I have seen,” he said.

“Not just scoring goals, he doesn’t lose the ball, he runs in behind, he’s the first to apply pressure. I am so pleased. He didn’t score today but he will score in the future. He did really well today.”

Picture Special

A grind out victory at the Etihad

Men's Match Report

Bernardo seals hard-earned win for Blues

CELEBRATION:  Bernardo celebrates his goal with Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane.

City ground out a hard-fought but thoroughly deserved 1-0 victory over Chelsea to move 18 points clear at the top.

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