Manchester City captain Fernandinho has said winning the Premier League title this season would be especially sweet.
The 37-year-old Brazilian midfielder is set to leave the Etihad Stadium at the end of the season after nine years at the club.
Reigning champions City have been involved in a protracted battle for the title with Liverpool but established a three-point lead at the top of the table last weekend by thrashing Newcastle 5-0 while their rivals could only draw 1-1 at home to Tottenham Hotspur.
It was just the result City needed after an agonising 6-5 aggregate semifinal loss to Real Madrid still left them waiting for a first European Champions League title after they conceded two goals in the closing seconds of normal time.
“Every title is sweet,” Fernandinho, bidding for his fifth Premier League winner’s medal, told reporters.
“It’s going to be one more… with a little more sugar.
“It was a great response but at the same time we are focusing on ourselves and know the title is in our hands.”
He added: “It doesn’t matter what they do over there, we have to keep going through all the hard games.
“This is what we are trying to do, focus on ourselves, but I thought it was a great response after defeat in Madrid, especially for our fans and ourselves because when you lose a match like this, the confidence can go a little bit down.
“But not just the result, the performance overall was really good and we are really happy about that.”
One downside for City in their win over Newcastle was when Ruben Dias went off injured at halftime.
The Portuguese has now joined fellow defenders John Stones and Kyle Walker among City’s casualty list, with none of the trio expected to play again this season.
Fernandinho, deployed as a makeshift centre-back after Dias’s departure, said: “We have some injury issues now but – at the end of the season – that is normal.”
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