Bernardo Silva: I miss playing for Manchester City fans
Bernardo Silva tells The Football Show: "The feeling of playing for the fans is what I miss the most"
By Dan Long
Last Updated: 20/05/20 12:36pm
Manchester City's Bernardo Silva says playing in front of a crowd at the Etihad Stadium is what he has missed the most since the Premier League was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pep Guardiola's men trailed runaway leaders Liverpool by 25 points heading into the final 10 fixtures of the season, leaving any prospect of a third consecutive Premier League title a nigh-on impossible target.
However, in spite of the lack of a title challenge in the closing stages of the campaign, the 25-year-old is itching to walk out in front of a capacity crowd more than anything else.
He told Sky Sports' The Football Show: "I think the thing that I miss the most is not training or kicking a ball but playing in a stadium full of people who get frustrated when you miss a chance, or are happy and celebrating when you score one. The feeling of playing for the fans is what I miss the most.
"I was in Portugal with my close friends and family for more than a month and although we are in a bad situation, it was quite fun because I was with them and I was able to rest.
"I've been back in the UK for more than 10 days and it's quite boring. I'm used to living by myself, but I'm also used to living by myself with a routine: going to training, going to restaurants with team-mates, seeing people. Now staying at home without seeing anyone for more than 10 days here in Manchester, it has been quite boring.
"We are ready to play however the government and the people that take the decisions decide it's best, we will totally understand. It will be good for the fans, even if it is behind closed doors, to at least watch some games on television."
'I don't want people to know where I feel most comfortable'
Since joining City in 2017, Silva has built on his reputation of being a highly versatile individual, capable of playing any one of several midfield and attacking roles, and has contributed seven goals and eight assists in 40 appearances in all competitions so far this term.
The Portuguese admits that his understanding of the game and the attitude that he 'always plays to win' puts him in position to succeed wherever he is deployed during club or international duty - but he stops short of revealing his favoured position.
He said: "I think the most important thing for a footballer is to understand the game, to understand that each team plays in a different way, each manager has his philosophy, each team has different players, so you have to adapt to your team-mates, and if you understand the game and everything around it, you can not only play in one position but in many different positions.
"Of course, you are better in some positions than others but I think that if you are intelligent, I think you can play in different positions. I always play to win but different positions demand different things.
"When I played alongside Fernandinho in the game where we beat Liverpool 2-1 at home, I was playing almost as a defensive midfielder. It wasn't in my head to create chances, to give balls to Kun [Aguero], to help Raz [Sterling] or Riyad [Mahrez] get one-on-one - my goal was that I needed to find the right balance for the team.
"When you play false nine, you are more focused on getting into the box, making movements to create chances to score goals and when you play in midfield, you're focused on controlling the game, controlling the pace, the rhythm.
"I do have a favourite position but I don't want to put myself in a position where people know where I feel more comfortable and I also don't want my managers - not only Pep but my Portuguese manager and my future managers - to think I only feel comfortable there. Wherever they think I can help the team the most is where I'm happy to play."
'We didn't realise how special 2016/17 Monaco team was'
One of Silva's final actions prior to his move to Manchester was to help Monaco to the Ligue 1 title for the first time in 17 years under the stewardship of Leonardo Jardim.
The Monegasques squad that season included the likes of Fabinho, Thomas Lemar, Radamel Falcao and Kylian Mbappe, and Silva revealed that the pure enjoyment of playing the game effectively alleviated pressure on the group.
He continued: "It was a special season because no one was expecting us to do what we did, even the players. Until December/January, we didn't think that we would win the league. We knew that we had good players and a good team but it took us a few months to realise how special that team was, mainly because it was just a bunch of kids having fun.
"When a player is as special as Mbappe, you never know whether things will go right or not but you know there is something precious, something important about him and if he works hard - which is the case - and has a good mentality, sooner or later the player will develop and will be the best.
"The most important thing about that team was that we didn't fear anyone - we could play against PSG, against Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham or smaller teams and we'd play the same way. We would respect everyone but have no fears and I liked that about that team.
"Being a part of AS Monaco, winning the league and reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League, we knew that some big clubs would come after some of our players so it wouldn't be easy to keep the same team. For example, I was there three years and I wanted to try something different. It was a good way to end my time in Monaco."