Manchester City's Bernardo Silva is urging his team to get maximum points from their upcoming games. Photo: Rui Vieira/AP Photo

Bernardo Silva has challenged his Manchester City team-mates to race ahead at the top of the Premier League table by the new year.

The champions have dropped only four points from their opening 15 games, winning their last seven.

They face Chelsea, Everton, Crystal Palace, Leicester and Southampton in December before hosting second-placed Liverpool in a crucial fixture on January 3.

And Bernardo, who has been in outstanding form in the absence of the injured Kevin De Bruyne, is keeping a close eye on City’s closest title rivals.

He said: ‘I had nothing to do on Sunday so I watched the Merseyside derby. Liverpool keep winning and it will be a very tough year, we knew that.

‘When you are leading the league and winning almost every game, teams try to see your weaknesses and exploit them.

‘Our job is to make the least mistakes we can and keep winning and try to make this gap a bit bigger in December and January, which are very important months with lots of games.’

Pep Guardiola made six changes to his City side for Tuesday’s victory at Watford — including a completely different back four — as he kept key players fresh for Saturday’s trip to Chelsea.

City survived a late scare in the 2-1 win at Vicarage Road but it was, in the most part, another superb display. ‘It says the squad is very strong,’ Bernardo said. ‘It’s good to change the players and not see the difference and still get important wins like the one against Watford. It’s a bit different because both of the countries where I played before — Portugal and France — we have a Christmas break.

‘Here it won’t stop, so it’s a bit complicated, we complain a little but it’s good because we love this game and we love to play and it’s a tradition in England, so we have to respect it.’

City beat Chelsea home and away without conceding a goal last season but Bernardo warned it will be more difficult now against Maurizio Sarri’s team.

He said: ‘Chelsea this season, as far as we can see, try to play and control the game like us. We know especially away it will be a very tough game, but we will try to get another win.’

Daily Mail