Cape Town - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola lavished praise on match-winner David Silva on Monday after his brace moved his side closer to the Premier League title following a 2-0 win at Stoke.
The Spain international midfielder netted once in each half in the Potteries as City re-established their 16-point lead at the top of the table.
Wins for City at Everton on March 31 and at home to rivals Manchester Utd at the Etihad on April 7 would see them claim a third Premier League title.
Guardiola was full of praise for his 32-year-old midfield star following the game.
"The goals, I am happy for David today, he has scored a lot of goals this season and the minutes he played," said Guardiola.
"He controlled the tempo perfectly. Normally people talk about his skills and technical ability and after that he cannot be an aggressive competitor. And he has both.
"There are no doubts about his skills, but after that, in the bad moments he is always there, he controlled the game, the tempo and to help us have more control.
"And I think the mix, with especially David, and Ilkay Gundogan, they are more aggressive and attacking with more runs in behind, and that also helps us a lot to control the games."
City now have 81 points, more than they earned in the whole of last season, and are within touching distance of the title, although they will have to wait almost three weeks for their next match
"We are very close, it had been 12 months where we have collected a lot of points and just lost one game," he said.
"It is always a complicated here, but we put in a solid performance and controlled the game and didn't concede a goal. They had just one chance, so three points more.
"We now have three weeks off and we travel to Abu Dhabi to train there in better weather conditions and to change our habits, stay together and come back strong."