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Media Watch

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Media Watch: Press purr over brilliant Bernardo

There’s universal praise amongst the Sunday press pack for Manchester City following Saturday’s impressive 2-0 win at Fulham which returned the Blues to the Premier League summit.

And, in particular, there is widespread acclimation and admiration for Bernardo Silva following yet another bravura display from our Portuguese midfield marvel who scored a fine opener at Craven Cottage and then provided the assist for Sergio Aguero’s brilliant second goal.

The Manchester Evening News’s Simon Bajkowski was amongst those to admire and applaud Bernardo’s latest Premier League masterclass.

Bajkowski reports: “If Fulham's performance was straight from their original thesis of how not to survive in the Premier League, Bernardo Silva showed again why Pep Guardiola rates him as the best player in the division.

“For all the missteps from the home team, precision was still needed to punish them and Bernardo gives the impression that he could get everything from the lottery numbers to your lunch order spot on.

READ: Bernardo | Fulham win was for Bernard Halford

WATCH: Kyle Walker hails 'fantastic' fans 

GALLERY: City fly high at Fulham

“There is of course the wonderful, floaty touch, the 360 vision and an passionate aggression for every single ball that sees him serenaded at every ground.

“As important though is, to paraphrase Fabian Delph, he just does the basics so well. City had 18 shots at goal in the first half but led 2-0 because the Portugal international threaded a shot through the legs of a defender and beyond Sergio Rico, and then played the right ball to Sergio Aguero.

“For all the gulf between the teams apparent to the eyes, it was Bernardo's brain that made the difference. With every game hyped up now in the title race and Craven Cottage not exactly settled, the 24-year-old drove his team through any pressures - real or imagined - to complete an enjoyably but utterly ordinary win.”

There is similar admiration over in the Mail on Sunday from chief sports writer Oliver Holt who filed a warning for the Blues’ rivals after witnessing the West London clash.

And he also backed Bernardo to be a contender in the battle to be crowned Footballer of the Year.

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Highlights

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Fulham v City: Extended highlights

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Holt scribes: “They have seven more league games left to play and with Kevin De Bruyne back in the side after injury and Fernandinho returning as a substitute, too, it is entirely possible that they will not drop points in any of them. City are that well-drilled. City are that confident. City are that good.

“At the end of the match, their fans sang the name of their long-serving club secretary and life president, Bernard Halford, who died last week. It was an echo of the past but this is a team that is on the brink of outdoing anything this club has achieved before.

“They have a maximum of 14 games left in all competitions now and suddenly the Quadruple has metamorphosed from an impossible dream into something that actually seems feasible.

“Liverpool will have something to say about that in the Premier League, of course. Spurs will not roll over in the Champions League, either, to say nothing of Barcelona or Juventus, but City, who are bidding to become the first team since Manchester United 10 years ago to win the Premier League back-to-back, are looking ominously good.

“Bernardo Silva was the pick of their players here. He has played so well this season that he must feature alongside Virgil van Dijk, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero in conversations about who will be crowned the Footballer of the Year. City are competing for trophies on every level.”

The Daily Telegraph’s chief football writer Sam Wallace was another scribe left eulogising over the manner of City’s display.

READ: Pep Guardiola | My players have amazed me 

WATCH: Inside City Episode 335

“For Pep Guardiola and his players this was a cruise and as they enter what could be a punishing 14 games up to June 1, should they reach both finals in the FA Cup and Champions League, his side look in good shape," Wallace writes.

“They are now virtually injury-free which is why he elected to substitute the scorer of his side’s second goal, Sergio Aguero, before the hour mark as a precaution with Cardiff City at home on Wednesday. The Argentine was feeling a little discomfort, Guardiola said later.

“Guardiola called it “control”, although domination might have been a better description.

“He could bring on Fernandinho in the closing stages, returning from injury, and his team would also hit the post – this time Kyle Walker – in the last 10 minutes.  

“This was City’s 25th victory of the league season, their first goal coming from the excellent Bernardo Silva after Timothy Fosu-Mensah, on loan at Fulham from Manchester United, carelessly gave away possession in the fifth minute to Aguero. The Portuguese attacker swept a low shot past Sergio Rico in the Fulham goal.

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Interviews

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Walker: 'Massive thanks to our fantastic fans'

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“In the 26th minute, Joe Bryan would give the ball to Bernardo and he guided it through to Aguero, who lifted his shot over Rico with his right foot. “After the second goal the game was under control,” Guardiola said. “We maybe missed one more goal to play the last few minutes under control. After the international break the players were tired... the next game will be more our pace.”

Finally, the MEN carries a fascinating titbit from a radio interview with Lionel Messi in which he named Argentine compatriot Sergio Aguero on an elite list of whom he considers the best players in the world 

Daniel Murphy reports: “Aguero has been in blistering form once again this season, blasting in 29 goals so far as City look to claim an historic quadruple.

“The 30-year-old has been consistently incredible for years now and has reached double figures in goals every single season since 2006 - an astonishing record.

“As a result Messi has named his fellow countrymen as one of the best players on the planet.

“The Barcelona icon revealed his list in an interview with Radio 94.67, but he didn't name his greatest rival.

“The Argentine said: "Excluding [Ronaldo] and me, the best players in the world are [Kylian] Mbappe, Neymar, [Eden] Hazard, [Luis] Suarez and Aguero."

“It's the type of recognition that Aguero deserves but rarely gets from those outside City.”


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