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Media Watch: Kompany - City have to be perfect

It’s the start of another hectic week for Manchester City with the Blues back in Champions League action tomorrow at home to Schalke before then switching focus to Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final at Swansea.

But we kick-off Monday’s media watch with some revealing words from Vincent Kompany on the thrilling Premier League title race where the Blues hold a one-point lead over leaders Liverpool after the weekend’s results.

And speaking to the Daily Mirror’s David McDonnell in the wake of our 3-1 win over Watford, the City stalwart said that Pep Guardiola’s players are convinced title rivals Liverpool will win all of their eight games left, meaning City must do the same to come out on top.

McDonnell writes: “With their Champions League last-16 decider against Schalke on Tuesday, an FA Cup quarter-final away to Swansea on Saturday and the international break thereafter, City are now not in Premier League action again until March 30, when they travel to relegation-bound Fulham.

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“But skipper Kompany believes a points haul of 98, just two short of City’s record total of 100 last season, is what will be required to be confirmed champions.

“We couldn’t have asked for more at this stage of the season,” said Kompany, after Saturday's 3-1 home win over Watford and before Liverpool then cut the gap back to a single point by beating Burnley on Sunday.

“But we’re all convinced Liverpool will win every remaining game until the end of the season. Therefore we know how big the task ahead of us is, with big games still coming up and difficult games against any team.

“We’re all relaxed and calm, we’re not getting carried away. We’ve got more experience. A lot of young players that were in the team last season had never won the Premier League. They have now.

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"A lot of the players last season still had to prove they were big players. They’re big players now. But you’re only as good as your last game and your next game, so we’ve got everything to play for still and everything to prove.”

The catalyst for the triumph over the Hornets of course was hat-trick hero Raheem Sterling.

And in his regular Monday round-up for the Daily Mail, Jamie Redknapp says his display offered yet more evidence that the City and England winger is making a convincing case to be voted PFA Player of the Year.

Redknapp scribes: “You only need to look at Raheem Sterling's numbers to see what an outstanding season he is having.

“His hat-trick against Watford took his goal tally to 15 — just three behind Manchester City team-mate Sergio Aguero in the race for the Golden Boot — and he has assisted another nine.

“It is the timing of his runs that makes Sterling so prolific. He is always looking to get in behind defenders and into danger areas.

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“What sets the best wingers apart is what they do off the ball. Sterling does not care about tricks or flicks. He is always looking to make those runs that ask questions of defenders.

“All but one of his goals this season have been scored inside the penalty area with seven of those in the six-yard box. It does not matter if the goal he scores is scruffy. Sterling now plays with a hunger and desire to get on the scoresheet however he can.

“The way Sterling is playing is like watching Mo Salah last season on his way to winning Player of the Year. When it comes to this award, timing is everything.

“If I had to vote now, I would still go with Virgil van Dijk. But if Sterling keeps up this form and scores the goals that propel City to the title, he has to be a strong contender.”

City’s immediate focus now switches to tomorrow’s Champions League last 16 second leg tie at home to Schalke.

And lastwordonfootball.com looks ahead to the tie, reporting that while the Blues are in a rich vein of form, the Bundesliga side will arrive at the Etihad struggling for both results and confidence.

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Schalke v City: Match highlights

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Mike Lindqvist reports: “The defending Premier League champions executed an outstanding 3-2 comeback win in Germany in the first leg. Now off the back of a strong second half against Watford, City look ready to advance in the Champions League quarter-finals.

"Teams in the Premier League have decided that the only way to stop City is to defend as deep as possible and hope it works out. 

"In the second half against Watford, City finally broke the defensive resolve of one of these sides. 

"City changed the focus of their play from the right side in the first half, to the left side in the second. It started opening up all kinds of space for Raheem Sterling. He had space in-behind, and space cutting in on his right foot and he exploited it. His hat-trick should be the confidence boost City need to cut Schalke apart.

"The German club have been on a terrible run of form – since the first leg of this tie they’ve been outscored 11-2. They lost 3-0 to Mainz, 4-0 to Dusseldorf and on Friday got smacked by Werder Bremen 4-2. 

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"It would be one thing if they were defensively strong, but they are struggling to do everything and those are the teams that City looks forward to feasting on."

Finally there’s some teasing transfer gossip via teamtalk.com, who claim that the Blues are ready to make a shock summer move for Norwich City’s Max Aarons.

Teamtalk.com claim: “The 19-year-old has emerged this season as the best full-back in the Championship, and City’s scouts have been ‘mesmerised’ by his displays and they believe he could be a perfect capture.

“Aarons has come through the youth system at Carrow Road after arriving from Luton as a 16-year-old, and although a right-back he is also comfortable on the left – which would be ideal for City, who have been caught out this season with a lack of cover on each side.

“Aarons has a long-term deal at Norwich – but City scouts believe he could make an instant impact at the Etihad.

“Tottenham have also been linked with the youngster and have been previously tipped to make a £15million move for the player this summer.”

That’s all for today’s Media Watch – but stay with us throughout the day for all the latest ahead of our clash with Schalke including Pep Guardiola's pre-match press conference.

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