‘We weren’t expecting Liverpool and Arsenal to drop points! Bernardo Silva before Man City v Real Madrid.

Press conference with Manchester City forward Bernardo Silva ahead of their Champions League quarter-final second-leg tie against Real Madrid.

Hi afternoon guys, hope you’re well. We will take questions in English first and then in Spanish. Please, if you can, raise your hand to let us know that you’d like to ask a question. We’ll come to as many of you as we can. I appreciate it, obviously, it’s an incredibly busy room. When you’re holding on to the microphone, we’ll start in the middle here. We sign Bernardo.

Bernardo, last season when you won everything, people said it was historic. It had only ever been done once before in English football. But yet here you are with the possibility of doing the same again. Are you at all surprised that this group has put itself in a position to do something that clearly has never been done before?

Well, not surprised, no. This group has proved throughout the years that we’re capable of getting to the final month of the season and fighting for all the competitions. And now, it’s where everything, all the tough things start because it’s not easy. Obviously, that’s why only two teams won the treble in English football because it’s not easy. But we’re very happy to be in a position where we can fight for all of them, knowing that it’s not easy. Our opponents are really, really good. But we’re there, so we’re really happy to be in this position, and it’s another big challenge for us.

Hi, Bernardo. I just wonder off the back of the weekend with the way the results went when you played first, you won convincingly, and you’ve then seen Liverpool and Arsenal drop points in the title race. Does it really feel now like that treble, that league title particularly, is right in your hands? And that this is a team that doesn’t give that up very often, does it?

Well, it was obviously a very good weekend for us. We’re not going to deny that because personally, I wasn’t expecting both teams to drop points. And before, we didn’t depend on ourselves. So we had to do our job and wait for them to drop points. And now, the situation changed a bit because we just depend on ourselves. If we do our job properly, we win the Premier League. So yeah, happy with the results over the weekend, not going to deny that. But a long way to go.

So two weeks ago, when we played Arsenal, everything looked like it was gone. And now, everything looks like Man City is going to win the Premier League. Maybe in two weeks, everything will change again. So football, that’s why football is so beautiful because things change so quickly.

And you need to be really focused game by game. It’s not right to start thinking about trebles and all these kinds of things because it’s not realistic. It’s game by game. We have Madrid tomorrow, then on the weekend, we have another tough game against Chelsea in the FA Cup.

Then we have the Premier League. And in one week, we could lose all three competitions as well. So we need to be really focused game by game to do our job well and to extend this hope for one more week, maybe one more, and then eventually, we’ll do it again.

Oh, hi, Bernardo. You obviously beat Real Madrid 4-0 here last season, the best performance of the season. How much of that match have you watched back, and how much confidence does that give you knowing that you could do that to them?

Well, I’m going to be honest, I didn’t watch the game back. So I only have the feeling of what we did on the pitch on that day. Two different seasons, it never happens the same game in football, it never happens again. So I feel Madrid is stronger this season than they were last season. That’s my feeling when we play them at the Bernabeu. And for sure, they’ll want a bit of revenge for that result as well. So it’s going to definitely be a very different game tomorrow.

Bard to, um, I would like to ask you about Cross and Modric, two of potentially the best midfielders that we’ve ever seen lately in football. I would like to ask if they are inspirations for you. What do you take from their game, and what do you think about them nowadays?

Definitely role models and an inspiration for me personally because they play more or less in a position where I can play. And the consistency you see, it’s not just one or two seasons, they’ve been doing this for 15 years. Modric is even longer because he’s a bit older than Toni Kroos. And after everything they’ve achieved, they keep going, and they’re just such an example for all the kids who are starting to play football to see the way they behave on the pitch and how important it is.

Our collective, they don’t think about themselves, they think about the team and the way they play. All the decisions they make, it’s all about the team, and that’s a big example for everyone that plays the game. I think it’s the way the game should be played.

Bernardo, just going back to the Real game at home last year, it felt like Valverde said over the summer that it was the most difficult Stadium he’s ever played in. Mention the way that you played, but also the supporters. Are you able to just look back on the night as a whole how you felt between yourselves and the fans and what that did for you?

Yeah, we have that feeling, and we still have the feeling that at home we’re very strong with our people. It just felt after what happened the season before when we were knocked out by Madrid at the Bernabeu, the way that happened, we wanted to put things right in a way for us.

And that performance was also a bit of an apology to our fans in a way for what happened the season before because we knew that we owed them another chance to win the competition, and we finally did it. Now, this season it’s a different game for sure, different teams, they had their signings, we had our signings and players that left, different forms.

So let’s see what’s going to happen tomorrow, but we’re very confident because we play at home, knowing that we play against probably, well, not probably, the kings of the competition, so we have a lot of respect for Madrid, and we know how tough it’s going to be.

Hi Bernardo, I just wanted to ask about Kevin De Bruyne. How did his absence affect your performance in the first leg, how important is it that he’s back for the second leg, and how will that change the way you play?

When Kevin is present, everything is different because he’s one of the best players of our generation. So we’re not going to deny that we’re better with Kevin than without Kevin, so definitely a big boost for the team to have him back. Hopefully, he’s on a good day because when he’s on a good day, it’s difficult to stop him.

Hi Bernardo, when you look at the season as a whole and going back to October, November, and December when you were playing well but conceding a lot of goals, not getting the results, but obviously now you’ve not lost since December, started scoring a lot of goals. The mentality of Madrid last week to come back from setbacks, how do you explain the kind of ups and downs of this season? Has it been a tactical development, his attitude, mental?

There’s always an explanation, of course, but I think it’s a mix of very different things, from a team that won the treble to come back, it’s a little bit of a hangover from winning the treble and to have that hunger again to go again every three days. Three days, it’s not easy. Also, it was a mix of having a lot of players injured at that time, having new players arriving at the team, and big players that left.

So, new players that to adapt, and it’s not easy to adapt to a new club. Then I remember it was a time when we had a lot of defenders injured, and we had also Rodri suspended, who no one can deny is a very important player for us. Kevin De Bruyne with a long injury, so everything is put together, sometimes the team is not perfect. What our feelings inside the team and what we agreed and wanted, we really wanted to do was to fight as much as we could to give us a chance at the end of the season to still fight for all the competitions.

We’re happy that we could achieve this, and now we can fight for all three competitions, even with the ups and downs that you said were true. There was a time in the season when the team was not playing well, we were not controlling the games, and the games were very transitional games, which is not the way we like to play.

We like to control the tempos. We were conceding a lot of chances, conceding a lot of late goals, which is not normal for our team. But yeah, with the effort of all of us, with a bit of extra from every player, we managed to get better, to be more solid, and as you said, I think since December or something, that we haven’t lost a football game. So, we’re happy to get to this part of the season with the chance to still fight for the three most important competitions.

A couple of questions in Spanish. Any hands, please?

Guys, they talk about the treble here, but you said tomorrow you’re playing against the king of the competition in Real Madrid. In the dressing room, you’re the champions of Europe. What does it feel like when you’re facing Real Madrid? You know it’s going to be a different, difficult game, but you know what happened two years ago in the Bernabeu.

Well, we have the maximum respect for Real Madrid, for everything that they’ve achieved in this competition and in their history.

Obviously, we know that it’s a very dangerous football team. They’re really dangerous because it’s a team that plays very differently from us. Sometimes, you feel you’re in control of the game, and then they get in behind a couple of times and they score goals.

So, it’s very difficult to control Real Madrid because they give you the feeling that you have the game under control, but you never have it under control. And that’s why they’ve won this competition so many times. Individually, I think they could be one of the best teams in the world.

If you look player by player, they’re really strong, they’re quick, they’re good, all of them. So, we have a lot of respect for Real Madrid. We know that we’re playing at home and we’re very, very confident because we’re playing well, we’re in good form at the moment, and we have great ambition. But I have maximum respect for Real Madrid.

How important is it to have Kyle Walker back?

It’s really important because we know that Kyle is a player who has controlled some of the best players in the world, the ones that play out wide. He always does phenomenal work when he plays. He’s a really important player for us. We’ve not, unfortunately, had him available for the Madrid game.

But now we do have him. We don’t know what exact condition he is in at the moment. We’ll find out from the manager. He will know better than me and he’ll make his decision whether he plays him tomorrow or not. But I’m sure that if he doesn’t play, we have other solutions, other options.

But I’m not going to say that he’s not an important player. He’s our captain and in the last few years, he’s played against players like Venicius, Mbappe, and Neymar, and he knows how to defend against them like nobody. Perhaps, you know, they can still cause him problems and they can cause damage, but he’s a really important player you can’t deny that.

Last year, you did big damage to Real Madrid. You beat them 4-0. The feeling of the team, they felt that this year, in the return leg, it’s almost like a similar result. It’s a draw in the first leg. What similarities do you see with regard to the tie based on last season and what differences do you see in Real Madrid?

It’s a different team because they changed the way they play. Last season, I think they played more of a 4-3-3 system. It’s difficult to say, but they play a little bit more 4-4-2 now. Benzema comes out, and Bellingham can play as a false nine, but he also gets into the opponent’s box. Rodrigo is a great player. Last season, he didn’t play all the time, but this season he’s been playing really well.

And I think they’re two different sides. We’ve had our players that have left the club and players that have come in also. So, I’m sure that their pride was damaged for what happened last season. So, I’m sure it’ll be a very different game to last season.

We want to go into the game strongly, we’re confident, but we have to have great respect for Real Madrid when we go into the game. Let’s see what we were lacking in the Bernabeu because we weren’t great and we didn’t play perfectly well. Let’s see if we can correct those things to be better going into this game and to control the game better.


0:00 Intro
0:30 Possible Chance of doing the Treble again
1:49 Title Race
3:41 Beating Real Madrid at home last season
4:36 Toni Kroos & Modric
5:44 Etihad Stadium
7:18 Kevin De Bruyne
7:55 Man City Ups and Downs
10:39 Treble
12:10 Real Madrid
14:08 Kyle Walker
15:26 Real Madrid
17:21 Outro | Please like the video and subscribe!

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