Silva's double golden touch helps City maintain the pressure on United
Manchester C 2 Fulham 0:David Silva scored twice to make sure Manchester City did what they had to and maintain the pressure on Manchester United. As David Platt, the assistant manager, said the title is Alex Ferguson’s men “to lose”.
When United arrived at Tottenham Hotspur yesterday they could feel the champions’ breath on their neck. “It’s not over, we can make it up, it’s not insurmountable by any stretch of the imagination,” Platt said. “But equally, it’s theirs to lose.”
Fulham never appeared like they might add a third away win to a dismal record on the road, though after Silva’s second-minute strike City were average and they had to wait until 69 minutes for the Spaniard’s smooth chip over Mark Schwarzer to confirm the three points.
Platt said: “Did we perform brilliantly well? No, I don’t think so. The second half was much better and it was assured, it was a complete performance in many ways.
“We played Stoke here the other week [winning 3-0 on New Year’s Day] and a lot was made of the fact Stoke didn’t do anything but we restricted them to very few things and we’ve done that again.
“You can’t really say our best form is yet to come but I think we are playing well and we’ve got to make sure that continues.”
As a player Platt was at Arsenal when they overhauled a 13-point margin to beat United to the title in 1998. What kind of character does it take to do so? “It’s slightly different in the fact that back then, I think we lost three out of four games around Christmas time and we didn’t go into games after that thinking, ‘What we’ve got to do to win the league is win the next 13 games or something’.
“It just happens and it’s probably about six games before the end before you think you’ve got a sniff of a chance.
“Every season is different and people like to have headlines like, ‘we’re coming to get you’, ‘we’re doing this’, ‘we’re doing that’. But the fact of the matter is they’re clear at this moment in time.”
Is it easier to chase?
“No it’s not because you’ve still got to go out and win your matches.”
Since losing 3-2 to United in early December City have now won six of their last seven league outings, and Platt said: “I thought we were a bit stop-start at the beginning of the season but even going into the United game I thought, at the beginning of December, we started to play and be more consistent.
“People say we didn’t go on to win games by four or five, or like the six we got at United [last season] but I thought we were playing consistently well. Each department of the team was playing, it was flowing.
“Even though we got beat by United I think we performed well. The other blip we’ve had was at Sunderland [losing 1-0] but even that one was a strange game when you look at it. I think we would win that game nine times out of 10 with the chances we’ve created.”
The Fulham manager, Martin Jol, said: “City are very difficult to beat, especially at home. Even when they don’t do very well they are still strong at the back.
“We could have hurt them because I don’t think they played as good as they could.”