Pep plays down prospect of derby-day title win

"David just explained his story, it puts everything into perspective for us", said the defender.

"You can not deny that we're close to winning the league but you have to keep working and keep focused and as we did since the first day, game by game step by step and working hard every day every week every game you're going to get there".

"There are always goals to pursue, statistics to overcome, and we will carry on and then work towards next season". They make the pitch very big, when you have the ball and when you don't have it. "But the important thing is on March 12, we have 81 points".

"By working hard every day, every week, every game we are going to go get there", the Brazilian added. It is a massive boost and relief to be able to play this game like we do. "Last season we were there and it was good and that's why we're going to the airport now". They are absolutely ideal when they attack, which means they are flawless when they defend.

"They don't come out of shape".

"They are the best I've seen in terms of their organisation, it really is wonderful to watch - and it is clockwork".

It was left for Silva to finish, over the body of Butland as the goalkeeper rushed out, capping a performance that was all the more remarkable given the Spaniard has recently been returning to his homeland on a regular basis to spend time with his new-born son.

Man City have now scored 85 Premier League goals this season - only 11 teams have ever scored more in a completed Premier League campaign.

Stoke face a tough run of games against Everton, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur before crucial games against West Ham and Burnley which could go a long way to deciding their fate.

Man City are also favorites to win the Champions League and even though a home defeat to Swiss champions Basel in the round of 16 second leg dampened City faithful spirits, their progress into the quarter-final is a statement that they are in it to win it.

Sane's curling 25-yard shot might have made it three and, when Ndiaye glimpsed a rare chance for the hosts only to volley over from six yards from Maxim Choupo-Moting's header, Stoke were doomed.

Vanessa Coleman