STOKE-ON-TRENT, England -- Pep Guardiola is playing down the potential of Manchester City winning the Premier League title against Manchester United despite it moving a step closer after their 2-0 victory over Stoke City.
City need nine points to be certain of winning the title, however they could potentially win it earlier by beating closest rivals United in the derby.
But to make that a possibility, they must beat Everton in their next game and Guardiola insists that they have to keep their focus particularly with Champions League quarterfinal games either side of the United clash.
"Everyone is asking but the important thing is that it's March 12th and we have 81 points and that is a lot of points," Guardiola told a news conference.
"We want to be champions and it is in our hands. We need three games or maybe two games if we are able to win at Goodison Park.
"But before and after United we have the [Champions League] quarterfinals and in that moment that is the most important thing.
"I understand for the fans but the important thing is to be champions. When and where, it doesn't matter."
But Guardiola's captain Vincent Kompany disagreed with his manager, saying it would be a dream come true for the team to secure the title against their city rivals.
"Everybody in the blue side of Manchester knows it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. But [we have to be] steady," Kompany said.
"We have one game before then which will be difficult and then we will see. It is not going to be handed to us.''
City flew out to Abu Dhabi immediately after the victory over Stoke although David Silva, who got both goals, will fly to Spain to be with his son who was born prematurely. Guardiola praised the midfielder after another impressive performance when he worked just as hard off the ball as he on it.
"Normally the players with his ability maybe you think he's not a huge competitor, a fighter or helping the team defensively," Guardiola said. "I think David is a good example in modern football on how to play on both sides with the ball.
"David 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."
And Silva said following the match: "When I play football I forget everything. It's good for me to play. In my private life now it is a very hard moment but my son is fighting. I'm very happy because he is getting stronger.''
The defeat keeps Stoke in the bottom three but Potters boss Paul Lambert had no complaints about the result and said his side were second best.
"They are as good a team as I've seen in a long time. They have gone to another level. But credit to my team, they never capitulated," he said.
"Defensively we got caught for the goals but they never carved us up like they have with other teams. This game was never going to define our season. We had odd moments but you have to take your chances.
"The way they play is terrific, you don't really see it until you get close up, it's so difficult to stop. I won't criticise my team, we stuck at it."