Barry vows there will be no let-up by City

MIDFIELDER Gareth Barry is determined to keep Manchester City at the forefront of the Barclays Premier League title race.

City secured top spot at Christmas with a convincing 3-0 defeat of Stoke at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night. Roberto Mancini’s men have dropped only seven points since the season began and scored an impressive 53 goals in their 17 games.

Despite that, arch rivals Manchester United remain just two points behind and Barry, currently enjoying a good run in the side, admits City cannot afford to ease up.

Barry said: “At the moment things are going really well. We have set a fast pace in the Premier League but we are still only two points clear at the top. That shows us that there are still other good teams around. All the time we are top we know it is in our own hands and we will keep trying to win games.”

Barry has been highly influential in City’s blistering start to the campaign and has been a regular in midfield alongside linchpin Yaya Toure.

Mancini, with an embarrassment of riches at his disposal, often juggles his side but the 30-year-old England international has now started five games in succession.

Barry said: “I feel really good at the moment, really fit. It’s good to get a good run in the team because the players we have in the squad, it is sometimes hard to get a constant run. But when you are playing regularly that obviously helps you. I am really enjoying my football at the moment.”

City dominated from the outset against the Potters and had already hit the woodwork through Adam Johnson when Sergio Aguero bundled in the opener after 29 minutes.

Johnson marked his return to the side in style by doubling the advantage with a long-range strike soon after and almost hit a third before half-time as Thomas Sorensen saved his free-kick.

Aguero had two more good chances before adding the third in the 54th minute and City then eased through the rest of the second-half.

Barry said: “In games like this that first goal is important. It took us a while to get it but once we scored then it opened up a bit and we had a lot more chances. In the end it was a really comfortable night for us, I thought.”

City can now enjoy the fact they are the country’s top side at Christmas.

Yet Barry is already looking forward to the next game at West Brom on St Stephen’s Day having relished another outing in City’s impressive team.

He said: “The possession we play – the way we keep the ball – is really good and this was a great opportunity to do that. The possession we had was pretty high.

“But not only that, we created chances and gave the forwards chances to get shots off. It was another good three points for us.”

When asked if City were becoming the complete side, having also kept successive clean sheets (beat Arsenal 1-0 last Sunday), Barry said: “You hope so – but you make those quotes at the end of the season, hopefully with trophies.”

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