Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola admitted even he was surprised at how easily the English champions swatted aside Fulham 2-0 at Craven Cottage to climb back on top of the Premier League. City have now won their last 12 games in all competitions, but their rhythm from a two-week international break was not disrupted as goals from Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero ensured the game was won in the first 27 minutes. "It was a little bit of a tricky game. International break, 12.30 kick-off, a sunny day which is unusual," said Guardiola. "The way we started was amazing. They surprised me again, the first 15-20 minutes was exceptional. "After that the game was a bit more controlled, they had no clear chances. After the second goal the game was under control."
Guardiola's men now lead Liverpool by a point with seven games remaining for both sides, but Jurgen Klopp's side can retake top spot with victory over third-placed Tottenham on Sunday. "Every game we have to win if we want to be champions. We have tough opponents, but that is the challenge," added Guardiola. Fulham, by contrast, remain 13 points adrift of safety with just 18 left to play for and failed to register a single shot on target at home for the first time in nine years. "We are realistic," said Fulham caretaker boss Scott Parker. "The main focus in the last six games is to keep pushing and end the season on a positive in a disappointing campaign." City remain on course for an unprecedented quadruple of Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup, which they retained last month. A potential 14 games now stand between them and history, but there will be far tougher tests in wait than a dispirited and dishevelled Fulham, who played a huge part in their downfall. Sixty points now separate the sides at opposing ends of the table and the hosts' inability to play simple passes highlighted why they are set for the drop after just one season back in the top flight. Aguero had already seen an effort cleared off the line before Silva opened the scoring just five minutes in. Kevin de Bruyne, on his return from a month-long injury absence, intercepted a loose pass deep inside the Fulham half and fed Aguero, who in turn played the ball to Silva to curl into the far corner on his favoured left foot.
A second City goal seemed only a matter of time, though, and again Fulham made it easy for their visitors by coughing up possession close to their own goal. This time the roles were reversed as Silva slipped in Aguero who expertly found the top corner for his 29th goal of the season. City were happy to canter through the second period without expending too much energy with eight games in a 25-day period to come in April. TOTTENHAM, Liverpool’s toughest hurdle: Liverpool face arguably the toughest challenge remaining in their quest to end nearly three decades without a Premier League title when a Tottenham side with their own desperate need for points visit Anfield on Sunday. Jurgen Klopp’s men hold a two-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table, but have played one game more meaning they need the champions to slip up at some point in their remaining eight games. However, City face a brutal April schedule as they bid to complete a historic quadruple. of trophies and still have to travel to local rivals Manchester United, as well as hosting Tottenham themselves Tricky trips to Southampton, Cardiff and Newcastle, who are all battling for survival, await Liverpool but the majority of their seven remaining games are at fortress Anfield, where they have dropped just four points all season.
“They are unbeaten in the Premier League at Anfield, it is going to be a massive challenge,” admitted Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino. “We respect them, they are doing good job.” Just a few weeks ago, Spurs could have circled Sunday’s visit as a chance to claw back ground in the title race themselves. However, a run of just one point from their last four Premier League games has left Pochettino’s men, now 15 points adrift of Liverpool in third, scrambling just to protect their place in the top four. Three weeks have passed since their last outing for Pochettino to stew over a 2-1 defeat at Southampton and the Argentine wants a reaction at Anfield. “We are in a very good position in the Premier League and the Champions League, but of course it is not enough” added Pochettino.
“I feel little disappointed because in some periods during the season we were really good and some, like now, we are not showing our real quality.” A trip north kicks off a momentous week for Spurs as they will finally begin life in the club’s new 62,000 capacity stadium on Wednesday against Crystal Palace after months of delays. Pochettino hailed the venue as “the best stadium in the world”, but its unveiling at a reported cost of ?1 billion has only emphasised the need for Spurs to make sure it hosts Champions League football next season. However, Klopp believes Tottenham will be buoyed just by the experience of training in their new home this week. “I think these are exciting times for Tottenham. I saw only pictures of it and it looks pretty impressive,” he added. “Tottenham played their last game three weeks ago, I don’t think anybody feels any defeat from three weeks ago. “We expect the strongest Tottenham you can expect because I heard nothing about any injury problems or whatever. They had a few over the season but not in the moment, so there will be a strong side here. A world-class team will be here.”