• Premier League

Milner not giving up on the title after derby win

ESPN staff
April 10, 2013
James Milner has not given up on the Premier League title © PA Photos

Manchester City midfielder James Milner insists his side haven't given up hope of defending their Premier League title, despite Manchester United's 12-point lead at the top of the table.

Milner, 27, scored City's opener in the 2-1 Manchester derby win on Monday as the defending champions slightly narrowed what is a seemingly unassailable gap to the league leaders.

The England international believes City's claim of the derby spoils will rattle United in their pursuit of a record 20th league title.

"It's never over until it's over," Milner said. "United will still be confident, but we've done all we can do and hopefully we've put a bit of doubt in there. It could be a bit of a stumble and if this rocks them, then great. Maybe last season will play on their minds, who knows?

"I'm sure they were hurt by what happened last year. As great as it was for us, it was equally as bad for them. That's probably driving them on to make sure it doesn't happen again, but we've done what we can and we'll see what happens.

"People can say that it is over, but in the dressing room we still think it's mathematically still possible, so we'll take it game-by-game and try to win our remaining games. We know it's very unlikely. United have plenty of experience at closing out titles and they probably haven't had too many gaps as big as this before."

Milner admits City will be left to rue a number of wasted opportunities, including defeats to Southampton, Sunderland and the Manchester derby in December.

"We believe that we aren't too far behind United, but the league table doesn't lie," Milner said. "We dropped points when we shouldn't have done.

"There were games that we dominated, but just didn't get the decisive goal. We dropped points at poor times. It should be closer but that's our own fault, along with United being clinical, and they maybe got that bit of luck which you need to win a title - we know that more than anyone.

"We haven't quite had that luck this season, but we just hope it'll even itself out. All we can do is concentrate on winning the rest of the games.

"Whether the title is over or not, our objective doesn't change and that's to win every game between now and the end of the season. If we do that then we'll win an FA Cup at least."

City have won six of their last seven matches and have their last chance of claiming silverware this season when they face Chelsea in the FA Cup semi final on Sunday.

Milner claims the strong run of form following the recent international fixtures holds his side in good stead for the competition.

"We came back from the international break and have had two good performances and that's a real boost going into a semi-final," Milner said.

"Chelsea will be tough, but they seem to be up and down, they have great spells and low spells. We know on their day they are a very strong team, but if we play like we did against United, I'm sure we'll get a win and go to another final.

"Chelsea go to Russia this week [in the Europa League] and hopefully they'll still have that in their legs on Sunday. I'm sure they won't use that as an excuse, they have experienced players who are used to travelling around, playing for their countries, but it's an extra game in their legs that we won't have.

"Winning trophies is a habit and we've managed to do that in the last couple of years. We need to keep doing that, keep that momentum. The FA Cup is a great trophy, you dream of winning it - if we can do it then it won't be a bad season."

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