August 4, 2021

Gundogan plays down Man City title talk: ‘Maybe the most competitive year that we have had!’

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Pep Guardiola’s side moved five points clear at the top following their 4-1 victory at champions Liverpool

Ilkay Gundogan believes this could be the most competitive season he has had with Manchester City and says the Premier League title is a long way from being secured.

The German international scored twice as City moved five points clear at the top with a 4-1 victory over Liverpool on Sunday.

Many are ready to crown City as champions-elect with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saying Manchester United are not title contenders and Jurgen Klopp saying his side are fighting for a Champions League place.

But despite City recording a record-equalling 14th successive victory in all competitions, Gundogan is taking nothing for granted.

“There are still so many games to play,” he said. “I think we should stay humble, try to take every challenge by itself because the Premier League is so competitive – and maybe the most competitive year that we have had, so it is about every single game and opponent.

“We know we are in a very good moment, but we shouldn’t take it for granted and not drop any edge and to keep going to do the stuff we have been doing as good as possible. Then, it can be a great and successful season for us.”

The 30-year-old is having the best goalscoring campaign of his career with his two goals taking his tally to 11 season and making him the club’s joint top goalscorer with Raheem Sterling.

However, Gundogan doesn’t believe that his recent form in front of goal means he has stepped up his game.

“It is nice to get on the scoresheet, but I know also that there are a lot of experts who look at different stuff and probably also saw that in recent years I have played on the same level or maybe even better, but I didn’t score or assist a lot,” he added.

“For me, it is always about leaving everything on the pitch and leaving it with a good feeling in myself. It doesn’t matter if you score or not, it is about the feeling that I have after every single game. That is how I judge myself to be honest.

“In terms of numbers, it is by far the best season I have ever had but there are also different parts of the game.”

Gundogan would have had a hat-trick had he not blasted a first-half penalty high into the Kop.

He was able to make fun of the miss after the game, tweeting he was inspired by the Super Bowl, but admitted he was grateful that it had not proved costly.

“It is not easy to deal with a failing on the penalty spot and there is always a danger of lacking a bit of confidence straight after,” he said.

“But I went into half-time trying to say to myself to keep going, make the simple stuff as good as possible and try to stay in the game.

“I tried to look for my chance and if I get it in the opponent’s box then just try to be there.

“Thankfully, it has worked out twice, quite well. I don’t take this for granted.

“I enjoy it obviously, but I enjoy it even more when our team plays well and we play like we did in the second half and that is the most beautiful part of it.”