Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has spoken of his side's motivation to seal their Premier League title against rivals Manchester United on April 7 but warned it will be a difficult challenge for the division leaders.
The Citizens defeated Stoke City 2-0 at the Bet365 Stadium on Monday night and need only two more wins to take the crown. Kompany touched on what it would mean to cement the title with victory in the Manchester derby when addressing the media after Monday's result:
"Everybody in the blue side of Manchester knows it's a once in a lifetime opportunity [to win the title against United], but steady, it won't be handed to us.
"Every win brings you closer to your goal but we want to keep this standard until the end of the season and into the next season too."
The majority of Premier League teams—including City—won't be back in action for almost a fortnight, but Pep Guardiola's men then face a seven-day turnaround against Everton and United in clashes that could see them secure the title:
The club sit within reach of breaking Chelsea's record for points won in a Premier League campaign (95 in 2004-05).
They could eclipse that figure by 10 points if they win all of their eight remaining matches, as The Independent's Miguel Delaney helped put their dominant streak into context:
Guardiola said the opportunity to finish off their title run against rivals United isn't a motivating factor, however, per Goal's Sacha Pisani:
"You're the fifth journalist to ask me this question. The important thing is that at March 12 we have 81 points and that's a lot of points.
"We want to be champions, it's in our hands. Maybe we are able to do it in two games, but believe me, before and after United we have quarter-finals and in those moments, the important thing is to focus on the quarter-finals. It's not important.
"Okay, I understand it for the fans, but the important thing is to be champions. When, where, it doesn't matter."
The Citizens have come a long way from last term, Guardiola's maiden campaign in the English top flight, when they could only run to third in the Premier League and finished without a trophy, per ESPN FC:
Now, Kompany and Co. are on the verge of adding their second piece of silverware after already winning the Carabao Cup, not to mention making their way into the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
There's no question as to who the dominant force in Manchester is right now, and with City already 16 points ahead of their second-placed nemesis, the runaway leaders can take extra bragging rights at the Etihad Stadium on April 7.