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Sunday, 23 September 2018

Early title could hurt Man City's Champs League campaign: Gundogan

Reuters , Wednesday 7 Mar 2018
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Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan believes winning the Premier League title early might not be a good thing for the club's Champions League ambitions as any drop in intensity could derail their European campaign.

City, who won the League Cup last month, need a maximum of only four victories from their remaining nine league matches to wrap up their first top-flight title under Pep Guardiola.

"I don't know if it would be good to win the (Premier) league that early," Gundogan told reporters. "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."

City hold a comfortable 4-0 lead heading into Wednesday's Champions League last-16 second leg tie against Swiss side Basel at the Etihad Stadium.

Gundogan accepts City have improved significantly in Guardiola's second season in charge but said they need results against Europe's elite in the latter stages to measure their progress.

"We are still on a journey," the 27-year-old added. "We are not where we want to be but we are happy with how it’s going at the moment. We have more potential to achieve.

"Because we play quite well, people want to put us at the same level as Barcelona or Bayern Munich. We want to be ready if we have to play them."

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