June 23, 2021

Gundogan admits Man City are ‘struggling’ despite Champions League win over Porto

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Though his side began their European campaign with a win, the midfielder sees plenty of challenges at present

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has said his side are currently “struggling” despite their 3-1 win over Porto in the Champions League on Wednesday. 

Luis Diaz gave Porto an early lead at the Etihad Stadium before Sergio Aguero levelled from the spot in both teams’ Group C opener. 

Gundogan would prove to be the match-winner on the night, as the German’s expertly taken free-kick gave City the lead in the 65th minute before Ferran Torres wrapped up the match eight minutes later.

Though the victory over the Portuguese side was City’s second in a row after they defeated Arsenal 1-0 on Saturday, Gundogan admitted that he believes City are currently in rough shape.

Key figures Kevin De Bruyne and Aymeric Laporte are out injured, while Fernandinho appears set to miss some time after going off late in the match against Porto.

Gundogan, meanwhile is only just returning to the City team after missing the beginning of the season due to testing positive for Covid-19

“If I’m being honest we are struggling at the moment,” Gundogan said on BT Sport after Wednesday’s game.

“Fernandinho went off at the end, we have players playing in different positions. I am not 100 per cent there because I had Covid, we are not all at the same moment.

“That is the challenge for this season, it’s not going to end for a while. It’s not going to be difficult for Pep to pick an XI because players are going to be tired.”

With the season starting a month later than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic, teams will have to cope with a more condensed schedule than usual. 

Speaking this weekend, Bernardo Silva predicted that this season’s Premier League champions will need fewer points than in recent campaigns, with more teams than usual in the hunt for top spot.

“In the last few seasons, we saw that to become champions you needed to reach close to 100 points, I think the situation this season is going to be different,” Silva said.

“Because a lot of players didn’t have any rest during the summer, I think the competition is going to be more balanced.”