Pep Marches On - Stoke v Manchester City
Following today's clash between Stoke City and Manchester City, here are the instant reactions from both managers.
Stoke City hosted Manchester City at the Bet365 Stadium for an 8pm kick off on Monday March 12, with the visitors taking a two nil victory.
Having lost the encounter earlier in the season at the Etihad Stadium seven two, although they'll be natural disappointment Stoke couldn't have done much more this time around to blunt the Champions elect - in fact their only failing was not testing Ederson - but as things turned out a brace from David Silva secured Manchester City the points.
Perform like that though and their survival hopes are well alive for the run in given how tight the bottom of the table is.
Butland, Bauer, Zouma, Martins Indi, Stafylidis, Allen, Cameron (Sobhi 88), Ndiaye, Shaqiri, Jese (Crouch 63), Choupo-Moting.
Johnson, Adam, Shawcross, Fletcher, Haugaard.
Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Zinchenko, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva, Sterling (Bernardo Silva 85), Jesus (Gundogan 90+1), Sane.
Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Laporte, Y Toure.
Speaking to the BBC's cameras a short time after match day referee Jonathan Moss blew the final whistle, Stoke City manager Paul Lambert explained.
'They are as good a team as I've seen in a long time. They have gone to another level. But credit to my team, they never capitulated. Defensively we got caught for the goals but they never carved us up like they have with other teams. This game was never going to define our season. We had odd moments but you have to take your chances. The way they play is terrific, you don't really see it until you get close up, it's so difficult to stop. I won't criticise my team, we stuck at it. Pep was very complimentary to ourselves at the end, the spirit they have shown.'
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola in his comparative interview explained.
'We are very close now, we have 81 points which is a lot! We had a solid performance, we controlled the game and conceded no chances. Now we have three weeks off, we go to Abu Dhabi and will come back strong. It is a tough winter for everybody so we are off straight away and we look forward to the weather. Today we were solid. David Silva controls the tempo. He has the skills no doubt about that but in the bad moments he is there to control the game and he is an aggressive competitior. To be champions is tough, it's complicated. Our club does not have a history of a lot of titles. As soon as possible will be better but now we can be relaxed, the players go away with their international teams. It doesn't matter where we win it. I understand that it is important to our fans to win it against United but the target is the next game at Everton. After that, if we play like today sooner or later we will be champions.'