Bernardo Silva expressed his pride at winning his first trophy with Portugal as he secured a fitting end to a hugely successful season with Nations League glory against Netherlands.

The midfielder set up the only goal of the game at Estadio do Dragao on Sunday, finding Goncalo Guedes with a clever reverse pass before the Valencia forward rifled home.

Silva was named player of the tournament after the final, adding yet another piece of silverware at the end of a 2018-19 campaign that delivered the treble of Premier League, FA Cup and EFL Cup with Manchester City.

"For me to finish this way it's just amazing, I'm so, so happy with my season, so happy to end it this way with these fantastic people that helped us over the past two games and now it's time to rest and prepare for next season and try to do even better," he told Sky Sports.

"I'm very proud, the most important thing is Portugal won, I'm very proud to have won the first title with my country and of course if you can add to that the [individual] awards you just said, it's even better.

"I'm very proud of my work, very happy at the moment."

On the decisive goal, Silva added: "I don't remember who played the ball to me but it was a great pass.

"I heard Guedes shout 'Bernardo!'. I didn't really see where he was but I slid the ball sideways and happily he produced a great finish."

In the 28th minute it happened. The titanic confrontation we'd all be waiting for. Virgil van Dijk blocked a shot from Cristiano Ronaldo.

Except, things never really heated up from there. Of course they didn't. That was never really Ronaldo's intention.

The build-up to this match, where a 1-0 win over Netherlands crowned Portugal the inaugural Nations League champions, focused on how the how battle between Europe's best defender this season and the continent's greatest international goalscorer of all time might play out.

Ronaldo has five Ballons d'Or and is hungry for a sixth, although there is a growing clamour for Van Dijk's imperious displays with Champions League winners Liverpool this season to be recognised.

Earlier incarnations of Ronaldo – think of the Madrid-bound Manchester United tyro who signed off with a 2-0 Champions League final defeat against Barcelona, but not before cramming a ludicrous number of shots into the opening 10 minutes – would have charged headlong into the Van Dijk confrontation.

But the 34-year-old version loiters on the fringes of games. Player of the Tournament Bernardo Silva was the attacking inspiration as Portugal tightened their grip on the opening 45 minutes, all twinkling feet and bustling energy. Bruno Fernandes fired five of the hosts' 12 shots before the break in something of a quantity over quality contribution.

Ronaldo still occasionally indulges such trigger-happy tendencies. Silva covered 13.7 kilometres in Manchester City's Premier League win over Liverpool this season, work that Ronaldo would certainly not see himself having any part of nowadays

Why should he? For all their stylistic differences, this is the big late-career convergence between Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

They've seen these patterns of play, these ebbs and flows over and over. They know they are better than pretty much anyone else who has laced boots. Why get involved in the hustle and bustle more likely to magnify the ravages of age when you can watch, wait and produce game-sealing brilliance?

Ronaldo's hat-trick in this week's semi-final was a fine demonstration of that approach in action, thumping home a free-kick and seeing the game drift before going bang-bang late on to seal the deal.

The other side of this equation is ceding absolute control of events. When Messi's Barcelona were ransacked by Liverpool in the Champions League, he appeared a victim of circumstances his team-mates could not bring back into his gasp. Ronaldo had a similar experience against many of his Sunday opponents when Ajax did for Juventus.

Thankfully for him, with the relentless Silva at his side, this chance to lift silverware before an adoring public was never likely to pass him by.

Where Frenkie de Jong was able to bend England to his will in midweek, the Dutch midfield master found himself more concerned with events behind him in Porto. Which pocket of space was Silva going to dart into next? When would he stop running? Would he ever?

The silky touches thrill those in the stands, but it is Silva's sheer relentlessness that make him a nightmare to play against. Like an immaculate classic car powered by a thundering and unfailing diesel engine.

He snuck between the lines decisively with an hour played, teeing up Goncalo Guedes for a fabulous finish.

In the end, there was no need for Ronaldo to engage in the heavyweight tussle when Portugal's brilliant bantamweight was going through his repertoire, even winning headers against Matthijs de Ligt in his own penalty area and weaving around De Jong again to run down the clock.

Head coach Fernando Santos still thinks Portugal will be able to call upon a 37-year-old Ronaldo at the 2022 World Cup. The sight of the superstar forward embracing Silva immediately after the full-time whistle suggests he knows just how important his country's latest world-class star will be in effectively realising that dream.

Standing on the site of an old farm in Teresinhas on the outskirts of central Lisbon, Colegio Valsassina is not the sort of school you would expect to rear one of the finest footballers in Europe.

The light pink walls and sturdy iron gates are manned by a thick-set security guard, who offers a friendly welcome before letting you through to the crisp, white main building and a sweeping tree-lined path that ducks down to the gymnasium and a football pitch bearing the name of the institution's most famous former pupil.

Children aged from three in kindergarten through to the eldest at 17 attend Colegio Valsassina at a monthly cost of around €600. It is the sort of setting one would imagine produces the doctors, lawyers and politicians of tomorrow.

Bernardo Silva, who is set to line up as Portugal bid to win the inaugural Nations League crown against Netherlands in Porto on Sunday, does not exactly have the archetypal rags-to-riches football story.

"He was a regular boy, a common teenager with a lot of passion for football," Maria da Luz, a humanities teacher and Silva's co-ordinator for three years, told Omnisport. "It was always the main thing of his life.

"His objective was always football. His academic idea – football! He didn't plan anything else. His parents, yes they did plan but he didn't."

As the young Bernardo dreamed of the career his time at Benfica's youth academy would begin to make a reality, his parents – Paulo Henrique, an engineer, and Maria Joao, who teaches at a nearby school – were determined for him to have an excellent education to fall back on.

"His parents were very co-operative with school and were very demanding of Bernardo," Da Luz explained. "They wanted him to be a good student and a good person, wanted him well-formed and shaped intellectually.

"At the academy of Benfica they discovered his talent for football. That's why he was stimulated. It was such a passion.

"But here, as his parents wanted, it was classes and not football. It was very difficult because of all the time he had to spend.

"Here he always attended all the classes. Then, after the classes he had to practice, train and everything."

Where he was a dutiful student between 2004 and 2011, the 24-year-old is now a hero for today's attendees. Children playing on the football field he inaugurated alongside Portugal rugby union cap centurion and fellow alumni Vasco Uva were keen to shout their appreciation.

As one boy put it, Silva is a "mundial" – a global star. Portugal is well-versed in producing such players.

But in their deft playmaker, who has won league titles in each of the past three seasons at Monaco and then Manchester City, they have a different kind of superstar.

"He isn't like Ronaldo," said Liliana Moreira, the co-ordinator of languages who has worked at Colegio Valsassina for 42 years. "I like Ronaldo very much, but he is a show off. Bernardo, no.

"Of course his car is wonderful – I don't know what his car is – but it is the same Bernardo as the boy we have known."

Despite claiming not to know "anything" about football, Moreira made sure to mention Silva was voted player of the season by City fans after a 2018-19 campaign where they won every domestic honour in English football.

Fluent in four languages, he is evidently a vital part of the glue that holds Pep Guardiola's trophy hoarding dressing room together.

Whether it is being the subject of Benjamin Mendy's pranks and the object of his affections, singing Queen in John Stones' car or celebrating team-mates' goals with unfettered joy, the midfielder – who Da Luz repeatedly described as a "kind boy" – is clearly very well liked and vital to morale. Perhaps Guardiola owes Moreira's department a thank-you.

"It was something that was genuine with him," she said. "This relationship at school, with his younger mates was very good. He liked to speak with all of them and was always very kind.

"He didn't have any problems with them and that is why he is so well with his colleagues at the moment.

"Three or four of his friends from the school used to go to Monaco when he was at Monaco. They travelled there and were with him. Now they all travel to England to be with him."

 

Far from taking himself away to a gated mansion, Silva lives centrally in Manchester and has immersed himself in the city and its culture. This chimes with Colegio Valsassina's focus upon the "global individual" and commitment to encouraging the arts and a humanistic element among its pupils.

"This school has this concern of joining the sports life with the academic life. None of them are superior," Da Luz said. "They are on the same level.

"Parents want their children to be formed and shaped in this way – the physical aspect, the intellectual aspect and the human aspect."

When City won the Premier League with a 100-point haul and projected images of each player at notable locations in their hometowns, Colegio Valsassina was illuminated with an image of Silva, who still pops in to visit when he returns to Portugal.

Of course, he has more pressing matters to contend with as Estadio do Dragao this weekend. Should Silva lift another piece of silverware on home soil, it would clearly be a huge source of pride to the whole school, which is in the midst of 120th anniversary celebrations.

"It would be something great for him. We are very proud. Quietly, but we are very proud," Da Luz said.

"We, the adults, quietly," Moreira added. "But the teenagers I don't know!"

Portugal head coach Fernando Santos will have no hesitation over throwing Benfica sensation Joao Felix into action in the Nations League Finals.

The uncapped 19-year-old was the headline selection in Santos' 23-man squad for the finale of the inaugural UEFA competition.

Joao Felix enjoyed a breakout season as Benfica claimed their 37th Portuguese league title, scoring 15 times over the course of 26 top-flight appearances.

A host of Europe's clubs have been linked with triggering his €120million release clause as a result.

Portugal were somewhat shot shy in their back-to-back Euro 2020 qualification draws against Serbia and Ukraine in May and Santos backed Joao Felix to shine if called upon for Wednesday's semi-final against Switzerland at Estadio do Dragao.

"If he wasn't ready he wouldn't be called up," the veteran tactician told a pre-match news conference. "Regardless of age we assess capabilities.

"So, if he was selected and is part of this team and others were left out that is because he is ready to play.

"He's been called up for a reason. We need to call up players who can contribute. He has great qualities."

Santos is not averse to adopting a confrontational tone when facing the media and he bridled at the suggestion that a new generation featuring the likes of Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes and Joao Felix represented an exceptional crop of talent.

"Since when has Portugal not been able to produce talents? Just look at the last 20 years - we've always done it," he said. "Portugal has always had many talents. 

"The players are different, but if you want to win you have to make everything compatible. It was always like this. We make of the past something that did not exist. 

"We want to pass on the idea that in the past we had no talent."

In a prolonged exchange, during which Santos gestured in the direction of Joao Pinto – the former Portugal forward, who is now a member of the national team backroom staff and was observing the briefing – to make his point, the 64-year-old recalled previous selection dilemmas.

"At the 2004 European Championships there was doubt whether they would play Deco or Rui Costa would play, and we had Luís Figo and Cristiano," he added. 

"It's up to me to have 20 high-quality outfield players and they are all fit to play for the main team."

Manchester City's player of the season Silva could be one of Portugal's stars of the tournament if he maintains his club form, although the playmaker is taking nothing for granted.

"There’s no undisputed starters in this team," he said. "There're 23 players called up, all 23 have the ability to contribute and to give their own qualities to this national team and that's why they're here - to help us win this competition.

"Of course having a great season at club level has given me confidence coming into the national side, and it would be brilliant to finish this season with a title with Portugal, too."

Chelsea star Eden Hazard has won the PFA Fans' Player of the Year award for the Premier League for 2019.

The Belgium international beat five other nominees from Manchester City and Liverpool to claim the prize, including Virgil van Dijk, the winner of the PFA Players' Player of the Year award.

While that particular accolade is awarded based on votes by fellow professionals, the fans' prize is determined by a public vote, which concluded on Monday.

Hazard came out on top ahead of Van Dijk, Sadio Mane, Bernardo Silva, Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling, who was named the Football Writers' Association (FWA) Footballer of the Year.

Hazard's 16 goals and 15 assists in the top flight in 2018-19, the latter of which had already given him the Premier League's Playmaker Award, were enough to secure him 34 per cent of the total vote.

He is the first Chelsea player to win the award since Frank Lampard back in 2005.

Hazard, who is preparing with the Blues for Wednesday's Europa League final in Baku, has been widely tipped to leave Stamford Bridge ahead of next season.

The 28-year-old, who has only a year left on his contract, is said to be a top target for Real Madrid.

Bernardo Silva vowed to "go for" the Champions League after being named Manchester City's Player of the Season at the club's trophy parade on Monday.

Silva enjoyed a fine campaign, nailing down a spot in the starting spot despite Riyad Mahrez's arrival and excelling in a number of different roles.

The Portuguese midfielder's haul of seven goals in the Premier League helped City retain the title, while they also claimed the EFL Cup and FA Cup, the latter of which they won in a 6-0 hammering of Watford on Saturday.

City announced Silva had topped a fan vote for the individual honour during Monday's celebrations, with the winner declaring his intention to help secure European success next term.

"Thank you very much everyone," he said. "The way you pushed us this season. You made it real for us. Without them [the fans], it wouldn't be possible. Next season, we'll come back, trying to give you more titles.

"A lot of hard work has been put in. We're very tired! It's been a long season, a fantastic season for us, but with four trophies [the Premier League, EFL Cup, FA Cup and Community Shield] for all squad and staff, it's been amazing.

"Hopefully, we want to do better, try and go for European trophies as well - it's what we're missing.

"The supporters need to demand more from us. European trophies - we need that. Let’s go for it."

Kevin De Bruyne felt "blessed" to have bounced back from an injury-plagued season to score at Wembley and help Manchester City win the FA Cup, admitting his most recent absence left him mentally exhausted.

The Belgium international suffered successive knee ligament problems throughout a season in which City became the first English men's team to complete a domestic treble, winning the EFL Cup, the Premier League and the FA Cup.

It was during City's 1-0 victory over Tottenham on April 20 that he broke down again, but after netting the third of City's six goals against Watford in the FA Cup final he reflected with satisfaction on having bounced back to fitness.

"It feels a bit like an honour," De Bruyne told BBC Sport. "After the Tottenham injury, mentally I was done.

"Five injuries in a year is a lot. But after a couple of days I was ready to be back with the team and help them win the title and in the final game and this game.

"I feel somewhat blessed to end the season in this way and show everyone that I am still the same and hopefully next season will be better."

Bernardo Silva echoed De Bruyne's optimism regarding next season, expressing his belief that Pep Guardiola's record-breaking side can still improve.

Silva had a hand in two of City's goals against Watford as he put in a performance that capped off a fine season on a personal level.

Asked what the treble means to his team-mates, he said: "It's fantastic. It means you are the best in your country by far because you won all of the competitions, so yes, we're very happy with this season. 

"It doesn't matter if we win 1-0 or 5-0, there's always space for improvement.

"Next season we'll try to get better, to win even more titles, to control more the games, have more possession, create more chances, score more goals.

"We'll work on that."

Raheem Sterling pinpointed the arrival of Bernardo Silva as a "massive turning point" in his Manchester City career. 

The England international has a combined 56 goals and assists in the Premier League over the past two campaigns, compared to 21 during his first two seasons at the Etihad Stadium.

Sterling puts his improvement down to the signing of Silva from Monaco in May 2017 for a reported £43million, admitting the addition of another wide player forced him to raise his game.

He told The Mirror: "I went back to north-west London. I went to see my friend and he said, 'They've just bought Bernardo Silva.' He was worried for me. And I was saying, 'That's sick, man.' He was really surprised but I thought, 'It's good, it's competition and it brings out the best in me.'

"That was a massive turning point when the wingers came in to push me. It was a good thing.

"At the time, it was only me and Leroy [Sane] and I just knew that it would push me again to do better because I knew there was someone else there. When you're in a team, it's not about ego, it's about raising your game to help the team.

"People had started to doubt me and I began to doubt myself as well and believe what was being said. It wasn't about getting my belief back, but I kind of blocked people out. I was like, 'OK, no problem, I'll show you.'"

Sterling was voted the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year for 2018-19 and was named in the PFA Team of the Year alongside team-mate Silva.

Off the field, meanwhile, the 24-year-old has been hailed as a role model for speaking out on racism and questioning the media's part in the problem.

But Sterling insists he does not see it that way, even if it makes his mother proud.

"People keep saying that," he said. "I don't want to say role model because I don't see myself as one.

"It gives my mum pride, I'll tell you that.

"I don't think I've changed anything, but I've opened up a door for work to be done. That's what I love about this country. People are always listening, people want to do the right thing and I definitely see it as something that has done positively.

"I adore this country because the people here are so loving and so willing to listen to try and do things for the better."

Vincent Kompany said Manchester City team-mate Bernardo Silva can become captain of the Premier League champions.

Kompany lifted his fourth Premier League title as City captain on Sunday, after Pep Guardiola's side beat Brighton and Hove Albion 4-1 to finally see off Liverpool's challenge.

The 33-year-old scored a stunning goal in the win over Leicester City in the penultimate game of the season, setting his team up for their final-day victory at the AMEX Stadium.

Portugal playmaker Silva, meanwhile, has enjoyed a fantastic season for City, scoring seven goals and providing as many assists in the league this term.

And Kompany believes the 24-year-old has all the attributes to become City's leader in years to come, as long as he cuts down on being the class clown.

"I say to him often you are 50 per cent clown, 50 per cent leader," Kompany told French radio station RMC.

"When he becomes 25 per cent clown, 75 per cent leader he will become the captain of this team.

"He is so strong and to be honest there is nobody who deserves this title more."

Silva's superb campaign was reflected by his nomination for the PFA Players' Player of the Year Award – which was won by Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk – and his inclusion in the PFA Team of the Year.

Manchester City and Liverpool arguably both deserve to be Premier League champions, but only one team can claim the title.

City are strong favourites to defend their crown, needing a win at Brighton and Hove Albion to guarantee top spot, while anything less will open the door for the Reds to clinch glory with victory at home to Wolves.

The Seagulls will not be a walkover, but with City having won 13 Premier League games in a row they will surely not stumble at the final hurdle.

So how have Liverpool and City been so far clear of the competition this season? Omnisport takes a look.

DEFENSIVE DOMINANCE

Liverpool and City are both brilliant going forward, but it is arguably their resilience at the back that has seen them march clear of the chasing pack. Both teams have kept 20 clean sheets in the Premier League this term, with Brazil internationals Ederson and Alisson going head-to-head for the Golden Glove in Sunday's action.

City have kept clean sheets in each of their past four games - helped by club captain Vincent Kompany returning for the run-in - while Liverpool's 22 goals conceded is level with City's record as the best in the league by some distance. For comparison, Tottenham's 37 conceded is the nearest anyone has got to the top two.

Mistakes have been few and far between from either side. City have only made two errors leading to goals all season in the Premier League, while Liverpool's four is only worse than Chelsea and Wolves on three apiece. West Ham's 14 errors leading to shots on goal is the lowest in the division but City have only made one more, with Liverpool on 16.

CONTROLLING THE BALL

Pep Guardiola's philosophy is well known and City have followed his plans to the letter this season. They have recorded a league-high possession figure of 67.91 per cent, with Liverpool ranking third behind the arrival of 'Sarriball' at Chelsea. It is no surprise to see City top the table for passes, with their 25,784 more than a thousand over Chelsea's tally. Again, Liverpool sit third - on 23,033 - with Jurgen Klopp's side employing a pacier style.

Crucially, when City do lose the ball they tend to win it back very quickly. They have recovered possession in the final third 194 times this season, more than anyone else in the league. Even Klopp's 'Gegenpressing' at Liverpool has only yielded 181 recoveries here - behind Chelsea and Everton. Bernardo Silva's energy has also been key for City. The two highest distances covered in the Premier League this season both belong to the Portugal international, who ran an amazing 13.707 kilometres against Liverpool in January and a fraction under that versus Spurs in October.

The upshot of City's mastery of possession means the 232 shots they have faced in the Premier League this term is comfortably the lowest in the top flight, with only 81 of them on target. Liverpool rank second for both metrics, facing 300 shots in total and 95 on target.

CLINICAL IN ATTACK

Having plenty of the ball and being solid defensively is only half the job, of course, as putting the ball in the back of the net is still the hardest part of the game. Fortunately for City and Liverpool, they do not find this too difficult. With 91 goals scored going into the final weekend, City lead the way from Liverpool on 87. If you don't buy a ticket, you cannot win the lottery, and City have had more shots (663) than anyone in the division while their 251 efforts on target is also far clear of the other 19 teams. 

Mohamed Salah's 22 goals and eight assists give him 30 goal involvements in total, one behind Chelsea star Eden Hazard. But City have two players in the top four: Sergio Aguero (28 goal involvements) and Raheem Sterling (27) with the Argentina attacker having played 32 games to Salah's 37. Sterling (17 goals, 10 assists) is one of only three players to have recorded double figures for both goals and assists in the Premier League this season, joining Hazard (16 goals, 15 assists) and City team-mate Leroy Sane (10 goals, 10 assists) in an elite club.

Perhaps surprisingly, Arsenal have the best shot conversion rate in the league at 15.56 per cent, but Liverpool are only marginally behind on 15.48. Who knows how many points City may have accrued had they improved on a comparatively low 13.73 per cent, but they will likely have another Premier League title to comfort them.

Pep Guardiola has hailed the influence of Manchester City's attacking midfielder Bernardo Silva, describing him as the best player in the Premier League.

City forward Raheem Sterling picked up the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year award, with Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk claiming the PFA Players' Player of the Year trophy.

Silva has been nominated for the Premier League's Player of the Season prize and Guardiola believes he would be a worthy recipient.

"He was the best [this season], not just in our team," he told reporters.

"Bernardo can play incredibly well everywhere, give me a team and he can play well there. He does everything with the ball."

When asked whether Silva could make the grade at any team in world football, he said: "By far."

A season of sensational strikes! 

Only one can be @NISSAN Goal of the Season - cast your vote now! 

#mancity

— Manchester City (@ManCity) May 10, 2019

 

City will seal back-to-back titles on Sunday with a win at Brighton and Hove Albion but former Barcelona boss Guardiola feels that his side can be proud of their efforts regardless of how the season's final day pans out.

"We've done incredibly well all season and in last two games we have two titles, two finals," he added.

"Okay, if it happens it will be nice, but nothing is going to change."

This week saw Tottenham and Liverpool set up an all-English Champions League final and Chelsea and Arsenal set up an all-English Europa League final, and Guardiola was complimentary of his rivals' achievements.

"It was two incrediblly good semi-finals and for us, our important win against Leicester," he added.

"For English football it is incredibly good. With [England reaching] the semi-finals of the World Cup, the Under-20 champions, the Under-17 champions... four teams in the final of the Champions League and the Europa League. A big congratulations to all of them. It's good for our football."

Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp have been nominated for the Premier League Manager of the Season award, while Manchester City and Liverpool players dominate the Player of the Season shortlist.

City manager Guardiola and Liverpool boss Klopp are locked in a pulsating battle for the league title, which will be resolved on the final day of the season on Sunday.

Leaders City travel to Brighton and Hove Albion knowing a win will be enough to see them secure a second consecutive Premier League title, while Liverpool – one point behind their rivals – take on Wolves at Anfield.

If Guardiola is successful, he will become only the third manager to retain the Premier League title after Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho.

Klopp's side have already amassed 94 points this campaign – the fourth highest in the competition's history.

They are joined on the shortlist by Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino and Wolves' Nuno Espirito Santo, with the winner to be announced at the League Managers Association awards evening on May 14.

Meanwhile, the Premier League's two most dominant sides have three players each on the seven-man shortlist for Player of the Season.

The Premier League's top goalscorer Mohamed Salah, PFA Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane are all included from the Reds, while Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva represent the reigning champions.

Chelsea's Eden Hazard, who has scored 16 Premier League goals this season, completes the shortlist.

Bernardo Silva is keen for Vincent Kompany to remain his team-mate for a "few more years" after the Belgian defender's brilliant strike saw Manchester City move closer to retaining the Premier League title.

Kompany was City's unlikely hero in the 1-0 victory over Leicester City on Monday, his long-range effort finding the net to move City back above Liverpool at the top of the table with only one game to go.

It was the 33-year-old's first Premier League goal from outside the box and raised the possibility of him ending the campaign as a league champion for the fourth time in his City career.

Kompany, who has battled calf problems in recent years, is out of contract at the end of the season, with Pep Guardiola saying the club had spoken to him about an extension, which is something Silva is desperate to happen.

"He's a man for the big games," Silva said. "Whenever you need him, he's always there.

“He doesn't feel the pressure. It doesn't matter to him – he likes the pressure, embraces it, and he gets even better for that.

“He is one of the biggest players this club has ever seen and I hope he can stay with us a few more years, of course. He's our captain and so important for us.

“If anyone deserves that goal, it's him. The way he works, what he means for the dressing room and the fans.

“It's not normal for a centre-back to arrive at that point and strike that ball, so it's a moment you will remember.

“But it won't mean anything if we don't win the title, so we have to win on Sunday to make this goal mean something."

City's victory lifted them to 95 points, a tally that would have been good enough to win the title in most seasons, but Liverpool have matched their relentless pace and are just a point behind having only lost once in the league all season.

Silva, who could end up winning the treble if City can win the Premier League and then go on to beat Watford in the FA Cup final, feels that the two teams have brought the best out of each other by continually winning and forcing the other to respond.

"Both teams have been amazing this season, especially in the Premier League," he added.

"If you look at the points, we have 95 and they have 94 - it's unbelievable. In a normal season both teams would win the Premier League.

"The pressure is high for both teams - we put it on them, and they put it on us. They make us better and we make them better because we both know we need to win.

"But it depends on us for the last game [against Brighton and Hove Albion].

"These players are used to the pressure - season after season we play for all the titles, all the cups. It's good, it means you are playing for big things. No pressure means you are playing for nothing.

"These are the moments every player wants to live. Two weeks to go, and we want to win two more titles."

Pep Guardiola applauded Bernardo Silva for his performance in Manchester City's 2-0 derby win over Manchester United and heralded the Portuguese midfielder as one of Europe's best players.

Silva joined City ahead of the 2017-18 campaign from Monaco to much fanfare and had a solid, if unspectacular, debut campaign, often finding himself used as a substitute.

But this term he has truly raised his game to another level, finding himself involved in 14 Premier League goals – including a strike against United on Wednesday – and impressing with his all-round play.

Although perhaps best known for his ability on the ball, Silva has also been regularly praised by Guardiola for his work-rate.

And, following the win that could prove crucial in City's title defence, Guardiola again saluted the Portuguese midfielder, who has been named in the Professional Footballers' Association's (PFA) Premier League Team of the Year and nominated for the main individual prize.

"Bernardo is having an incredible season, incredible," Guardiola told reporters. "In the second half [against United] he played like a holding midfielder.

"A holding midfielder…Bernardo. It doesn't matter, he fought with Paul Pogba and everyone. It's not just [against United], it's not just his goal, it's all the season, it was a masterclass, a masterpiece every single game. It was incredible.

"Bernardo is a joyous guy. Of course, he can play right or left. For example, the game against Swansea City [in the FA Cup], he played as a left winger and he made the goal and an assist.

"It was offside, the goal from Sergio [Aguero], but he made the assist, and after he played as a holding midfielder. He can play as an attacking midfielder [as well], he's such an intelligent player, with his work ethic.

"He's a fighter. He's one of the best players in Europe. One of the best." 

Liverpool and Manchester City dominate the Professional Footballers' Association's (PFA) Premier League Team of the Year, while there is a surprise inclusion for Manchester United's Paul Pogba. 

City and Liverpool have been streets ahead of the rest in the Premier League this season and are in a two-way tussle for the title with three games to go. 

As such, 10 spots in the PFA's Team of the Year are taken up by City and Liverpool players, making it the first time in the history of the combined XI that only three teams have been represented. 

Raheem Sterling and Virgil van Dijk – the two favourites for the individual prize – are present, with the former joined by team-mate Sergio Aguero and the Reds' Sadio Mane in attack. 

Sterling is enjoying another marvellous season having scored 17 times and set up another 10, while Van Dijk has helped transform Liverpool into title challengers.

Ederson ends David de Gea's four-year streak as the most-backed goalkeeper, while compatriot Fernandinho is in alongside Pogba, making it the first time two Brazilians have made it into the team in the same season. 

Bernardo Silva and Aymeric Laporte complete the City contingent, while Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson – the first Scottish player to be included since Darren Fletcher in 2009-10 – slot into a Liverpool-heavy back four. 

The most notable inclusion is surely that of United's Pogba, however, with the Frenchman a regular target of criticism for a lack of consistency, particularly during the first half of the campaign under Jose Mourinho. 

He soon stepped his game up under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and has 13 goals and nine assists in 33 games, but a haul of seven penalties impacts his record significantly and he has been lambasted over recent weeks for a series of underwhelming performances. 

 

PFA Premier League Team of the Year in full: 

Ederson (Manchester City); Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Andy Robertson (Liverpool); Fernandinho (Manchester City), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City); Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Sadio Mane (Liverpool). 

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