05 Mar Ilkay Gundogan: No easing up from Manchester City
Ilkay Gundogan insists Manchester City will not ease up – even if they win the title with several games to spare.
City now need a maximum of only four more wins from their remaining nine games to claim the Premier League crown.
Wrapping it up early would allow City to cruise through the run-in but midfielder Gundogan is concerned about how any drop in intensity could affect their Champions League challenge.
“I don’t know if it would be good to win the league that early,” said the German. “Obviously we want to win it and, if we do, when that happens is not really in our hands.
“But you need rhythm, and to always play seriously.
“You should always try to play in a serious way. If you are able to win the league quite early, you can lose that seriousness for the Champions League, maybe.
“I don’t know if it will be a good thing but we will accept it when it comes.”
Gundogan speaks from experience, having been part of the Borussia Dortmund side that won the Bundesliga in 2012, a season in which they also went on to enjoy cup success.
The 27-year-old said: “Three or four games before the season finished we were already champions.
“It was a surprise as well, as Bayern Munich were always the dominant side in Germany, but there were a few games to go.
“But we also had the possibility of breaking a record for gaining points. We told ourselves we wanted that record, even though the season was over and we had the trophy.
“We wanted to play the last games in a very serious way, keep our form and our mentality. That’s quite important, keeping it going.”
City beat Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday in a game they completely dominated, enjoying 71 per cent possession. They managed just one goal, scored early in the second half by Bernardo Silva, but the 1-0 scoreline flattered the lacklustre, fading champions.
Gundogan said: “It was a great game from our side – we were dominant and created, especially in the first half when we had very good chances.
“This is the way we want to play, it doesn’t matter whether it’s Chelsea or someone else, the former champions or not, we always try to keep the ball and play our type of football.
“This squad has huge quality and it’s fun to be out there because every single player is able to do something special. We aim to play simple but in a perfect way – that’s the football we love, and at the moment it’s a lot of fun.
“We know we have had an amazing season and we just want to continue that in both competitions, and be successful.
“In the Premier League it looks very good, we are in a very comfortable position and are enjoying it until the next game.”