'There isn't a Spanish Stoke' - Manchester City midfielder David Silva

Spain midfielder says he has been pleased with his first season in England but admits he has never faced a team like today's FA Cup final opponents

Manchester City midfielder David Silva has adapted well to the Premier League this season though says he has never faced a side like Stoke before.

Stoke are the surprise side in the FA Cup final this season and have a unique style that often puts emphasis on the long ball - and 5ft 6inch Silva says growing up in Spain he has never seen a side like City's final opponents before.

“There isn't a Spanish Stoke," Silva says in an article in The Guardian.

"There are a few sides in Spain who resort to the long ball occasionally – but not all the time. They are a big side and play with a lot of aggression. They will be hard to beat, but we have a lot of desire and belief that we can beat them.”

Silva has enjoyed a fine debut season in the Premier League and despite rumours that he was struggling to settle, the 25-year-old says he has been surprised by life in Manchester.

“It's been a really good first year," he says. "I settled in really quickly and that has been the key.

“That's down to everyone at the club but the thing that has surprised me, amazed me actually, is that you can just have a normal life away from football here. In Spain it's really tough to go anywhere because people are in your face.

“Here it's marvellous. You can just go out and be unnoticed. Or when people come up to say hello they are so nice and respectful. I like that nice, quiet life."

Silva says that despite originally having reservations about moving abroad to Manchester he was convinced after the club had shown such interest in signing him.

“Spain is such a competitive league and, for the players to give up La Liga, it's such a tough decision.

“But I always wanted to play in the Premier League. City came in strongly for me, put their cards on the table and what I have found out since is that every game in England is a privilege – the atmosphere, the fans, the interest that surrounds it. Every time I go out on the pitch I know I've made the right decision."

The 24-year-old says the Spanish version of the FA Cup, the Copa Del Rey, is often viewed as more of a hindrance than a reward to the top clubs but he feels that winning the FA Cup will rank as high as the World Cup and European Championship winners' medals he earned with the national side.

“I don't think you can make the same comparison here in England because it's always been a big trophy.

“It would be just as meaningful for me to win this as anything I have won in the past, in the sense that it's so long since City won a trophy or even got into a final.

“What we've done this season is very positive. We've got to a final and reached the top four, the Champions League, and I know how important it is for the people who follow this club that we actually win something now – that first trophy. Then we can continue that upward curve."

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