Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola admitted after their 2-0 win at Stoke he knows the fans would love to win the title against Manchester United.
David Silva struck twice as City took another stride towards their seemingly inevitable coronation as Premier League champions.
Silva found the net early in each half as Pep Guardiola’s men enjoyed a comfortable night at the bet365 Stadium to re-establish a 16-point lead at the top of the table.
The result leaves City needing only a maximum of three wins from eight remaining games to take the title, but two would suffice if one of them comes against second-placed Manchester United.
That means there is a possibility City could complete the job in the derby against rivals United on April 7, if they beat Everton in their next game on March 31.
“We are very close now, we have 81 points which is a lot! We had a solid performance, we controlled the game and conceded no chances,” Guardiola told Sky Sports.
“Now we have three weeks off, we go to Abu Dhabi and will come back strong. It is a tough winter for everybody so we are off straight away and we look forward to the weather.
“Today we were solid. David Silva controls the tempo. He has the skills no doubt about that but in the bad moments he is there to control the game and he is an aggressive competitor.
“To be champions is tough, it’s complicated. Our club does not have a history of a lot of titles. As soon as possible will be better but now we can be relaxed, the players go away with their international teams. It doesn’t matter where we win it.
“I understand that it is important to our fans to win it against United but the target is the next game at Everton. After that, if we play like today sooner or later we will be champions.”