Bernardo Silva says Manchester City were right not to swap Tottenham fixtures despite ‘complicated’ pitch

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Manchester City made the right decision to play Tottenham on Wembley’s awful pitch on Monday instead of switching the Premier League tie to the Etihad, says Bernardo Silva.

City's 1-0 victory, courtesy of Riyad Mahrez’s early goal, was played out on a pitch that had been used to host an NFL match just over 24 hours prior to Monday’s kick-off.

The pitch was marked with a large NFL logo in the centre circle and there were larges patches of the surface that had been affected by Sunday’s clash between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles.

Tottenham were made to pay for this when Erik Lamela failed to convert from inside the box when the ball bounced up just as he was about to strike on goal, with his resulting effort ending up in the stands behind.

Tottenham’s new ground was expected to host this fixture on the Sunday when Sky Sports declared their intention to broadcast it. But in light of the stadium delays, it was moved to Monday to accommodate television viewers.

Tottenham explored the possibility of swapping the fixtures and playing as the away side at the Etihad, but City did not want a run of three away games in April.

Bernardo Silva admits the pitch was harder to play on (AFP/Getty Images)
Bernardo Silva admits the pitch was harder to play on (AFP/Getty Images)

“I think it was the right decision,” said Silva. “I don’t want to say that it’s more important the second round [of fixtures] because all points are important, but obviously from the end of the season you will have to play three away games. It’s complicated because at home with our supporters you are always a little bit stronger, so, it’s good to have this win and to be able to play the second game at the Etihad.

“[The pitch] was a complicated, I think. Everyone knew how the pitch was, the conditions weren’t even close to perfect but it was the same pitch for both teams. We knew we had to try and win it anyway, that’s the most important thing. We got the three points and now onto the next one.”

“I think everyone knows how difficult it is to play here at Wembley against one of the best teams in England, especially with the pitch in those conditions against, not only technically good, but one of the strongest teams physically. It’s a big win for us and we’re very happy now we have to think about the next one.”

The defending league champions have already won at Arsenal and Tottenham, as well as drawing against Liverpool at Anfield, as they push on in their quest for a successive title. But Silva was wary of getting carried away by the strong start.

“I think that it's important to win these games, to have a draw away at Anfield, to win at the Emirates and now here at Wembley. It’s important, but still they have to come to play us at the Etihad, which is a bit better for us. It’s still the beginning of the season and anything can happen, we have to keep strong and with the ambition of winning every game and never relax.

“Chelsea and Liverpool, they are very strong, Arsenal as well, even Tottenham, even though they lost tonight, they’re still contenders. I think it will be harder because last season nobody was expecting us to win as many games and to reach that level of points so this season the teams they know they have to do better to beat us. Of course it will be very hard, but we will work every game to get the three points and at the end of it try and celebrate winning one more Premier League.”