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Media Watch: Stones focused after 'derby madness'

It’s yet another pivotal weekend in a compelling Premier League title race and, not surprisingly, City’s must-win trip to Burnley tomorrow lunchtime dominates the media landscape.

There’s some fascinating words from John Stones both about the game and the aftermath of our derby win at Old Trafford, a warning to City from Clarets boss Sean Dyche as well as advice from a former Etihad defensive rock.

And there’s also a fascinating snippet of transfer gossip to get you in the mood for another big weekend.

We begin with tomorrow’s tough test away at Burnley where only a victory will suffice if City are to return to top spot following Liverpool’s thrashing of Huddersfield on Friday night.

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Speaking to Sky Sports, City and England central defender Stones reveals that there was a brief outpouring of emotion from the City squad immediately after our 2-0 derby win at Old Trafford but that he and his colleagues then immediately switched focus to the task in hand at Turf Moor.

Stones told Sky Sports: "To get over the line at the end of the game and to come away with those three points at such a vital stage of the season you can't really put into words how it feels sometimes," he said.

“You get into the dressing room both before and after the match and it was a great occasion because everyone is just so happy that we've beat our rivals.

"We had five minutes of madness where everyone's shouting and then it calms down.

"Everyone then just gets on with their recoveries as we know we've got another game at the weekend. 

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"They're (Burnley) always a very well-organised team. Taking nothing away from them, they've got quality as well.

“They sometimes grind out results against the top teams so we know what we're up against.”

To amplify Stones’ point, Clarets boss Sean Dyche told the Daily Mail’s Mike Keegan that his Burnley side were ready to offer a formidable challenge to Pep Guardiola’s players.

The match is seen as another pivotal moment in determining who will lift the title.

But, as the Mail reports: “Dyche is not concerned who lifts the Premier League trophy, and is only focusing a positive end to a down-and-up season at Turf Moor which has seen the Clarets flirt with relegation before striding to almost-safety. 

“I've no preference at all,' the 47-year-old, who supported Liverpool from afar during his upbringing in Kettering, said. 'I genuinely mean that. I just want us to deliver the performances that we've shown and I want it to continue.

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“It's irrelevant whether it's Manchester City, Everton, Arsenal, Chelsea - they're all fighting for something. As are we.”

“Burnley need a point to be mathematically safe, although goal difference would suggest they can already count on another season in the top flight.

“'We've not got there yet,' Dyche pointed out. 'It's mad, that, isn't it? If there was a statistician in the room, he'd go: "You keep saying it's virtually done, when the odds (against safety) are a trillion to one". But it's not done, is it? You don't want to be that horror story, do you?'

“Dyche will also be hoping to make life difficult for Pep Guardiola and his side. 'Their approach will be of a serious nature,' he said.

“'I don't know Pep Guardiola but I would imagine he's learned there's no walk in the park in the Premier League - there's no naivety. They won't be coming to Turf Moor expecting a walk in the park and we won't allow them that.'”

Meanwhile, according to a former City defensive icon, only one obstacle stands in City’s way from becoming the first side since Manchester United in 2009 to retain back-to-back titles.

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Writing in his column for the Irish Independent, former skipper Richard Dunne scribes: “Complacency is the only thing that can stop Manchester City from becoming Premier League champions again this season.

“They could get over-confident and feel that they have the job done before it is done. But I can’t see that happening, I can’t see the three teams that City have left to play preventing them from scoring.

“Liverpool will see out the season in hope, more than anything else, while City look confident and as soon as they came away from Old Trafford with a win on Wednesday, they were in control.

“They seem to be over the disappointment of the Champions League, they can focus on the league title now and they can put everything they have into winning the league again. In fact the loss in the Champions League is driving City on to go for the treble.

“This run that City are on is incredible, if they do get 14 wins in a row that will be an incredible achievement..

“With the form that City are in, the mentality that is there, not having to change the team around or worry about the Champions League, I’d back City this weekend, they can just go for it and finish things off.”

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Finally, it wouldn’t be the weekend without yet more transfer speculation and this time it’s a young Argentine striker who is being linked with a move to the Etihad.

The link comes via www.hitc.com who claim: Manchester City are one of a number of Premier League teams interested in signing Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez this summer, according to Racing de Alma.

Racing de Alma claims that Manchester City would love to take Martinez to the Etihad given the opportunity though Inter, who value the striker at £52 million, are unlikely to sell particularly with Icardi expected to leave.

Chelsea are also interested, the report adds, alongside other unnamed English clubs.

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