John Stones believes the older heads in the Manchester City dressing room are vital as they aim to see off Liverpool’s title challenge.
City will retain the Premier League crown if they win their final two games against Leicester at home and Brighton away, but with Liverpool just a point behind there is little room for error.
It is a far cry from last season when City won the title with five games to spare and went on to finish a record 19 points clear of their nearest rival.
— Premier League (@premierleague) April 28, 2019
Defender Stones said: “It’s a different scenario, last season the league was done by now. It’s a strange situation because some of us haven’t been in this situation before.
“I think Vinny (Kompany) said that these are the times when it brings the best out of you as a player, but him as a player, David (Silva), Sergio (Aguero) and a few of the others have been in this situation before. They know what the feeling is, how to get the best out of it.
“We’ve got to be guided by those and try to take everything in. It makes everything exciting, keeps everyone on our toes.
“If you ask me if I’d prefer to win it like last season, I’d say yes, but the situation we are in we’re really enjoying, trying to go with the flow, take everything in and keep putting the performances in.
“I wouldn’t say it’s keeping us motivated – because everyone is motivated to win and lift the Premier League – but it’s making us hungrier to keep winning, keep the pressure on and keep fighting until we can’t any more.
“It’s exciting to be part of it.”
Stones feels winning another title would be more special than last year’s success, not because of the tight race, but because it would make City the first team to win two in succession for a decade.
The 24-year-old said: “It’ll be special because it will be back to back, not because we’ve been pushed by Liverpool.
“I think it’s better for the football fans in general that it’s gone so late in the season and nobody has won it yet.
2️⃣ games to go
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 29, 2019
“We could be fighting right down until the last game.
“But for me I’d say it’d be more special as it would be back to back. That’s so difficult to do.”
City have won their last 12 games and Stones realises there is still no room to ease up.
He said: “Nobody in our dressing room will take these last games lightly and say these are easy wins.
“Never under-estimate any team that’s lower in the league than you are, that’s when you start to become complacent and slip up yourselves.
“I think as players we go in and attack the games as difficult, respect our opponents and try to play our game.”
- Press Association