MANCHESTER: Bernardo Silva is hoping to kickstart his Manchester City career by capitalising on the creative void left by Leroy Sane’s absence over the next couple of months.
Germany international Sane faces up to seven weeks on the sidelines with ankle ligament damage picked up in City's FA Cup victory over Cardiff last weekend.
Silva took Sane's role on the left of City's attack as Pep Guardiola's men moved 15 points clear at the top with a 3-0 win over West Brom on Wednesday and is set to do the same for Saturday's trip to Burnley.
The Portugal international says the position is not one to which he is altogether accustomed but is desperate for a run in the side after seeing his opportunities limited since sealing a £43 million move (49 million euro, $61 million) from Monaco in July.
"I've never played much on the left," Silva said ahead of City’s clash at Turf Moor. "But this season I've played a few times on the left, on the right, in the middle.
"I know I'm not a fast player like Leroy Sane, I know I cannot do some of the things that he can.
"But I try to do other things and of course I try to improve myself."
Sane's pace has been a key for the runaway Premier League leaders this season, scoring 11 goals and providing 14 assists in all competitions.
Silva, meanwhile, has made just seven league starts in his debut season in England.
"I want to try to get even better because this is not even close to what I can do for this team so I think I'm improving and I want to improve more and more."
City needs a maximum of eight victories from 13 games to secure the Premier League title although Silva insists nobody in Guardiola's side is getting carried away.
"Every game we have to try to get the three points," Silva added.
"That's what we always do and what we've been doing since the start of the season so now we have to think about the Burnley game and we’ll try to get the three points."
- Injury problems -
In addition to Sane, City are without long-term absentees Gabriel Jesus and Fabian Delph, (knee injuries) while David Silva (abdominal strain) and John Stones (illness) will both be assessed.
Burnley head into the match with injury problems of their own after influential midfielder Steven Defour joined their list of absentees.
Defour has a knee injury which could rule him out for several months and joins Jonathan Walters, Dean Marney, Stephen Ward, Chris Wood and Robbie Brady under treatment, while James Tarkowski is carrying a groin problem.
Tom Heaton has returned to training following a dislocated shoulder but will be given time to build his match fitness so Nick Pope will continue in goal.
The Clarets are also without a win in eight Premier League matches stretching back to December 12, but manager Sean Dyche believes his squad possess the mental strength to get back on track.
"This team has got plenty of character and that's an important factor," he said.
"We all like the joys of football and tactical understanding but sometimes it comes down to a willingness and desire.
"It's frustrating when you haven't won for a while and we are having a tough run at the moment, but we've got 35 points on the board and we're back up to seventh in the Premier League."