Ilkay Gundogan urges Manchester City to cut out ‘unnecessary’ individual mistakes in their bid to avoid quarter-final elimination from the Champions League for the FOURTH season running against Borussia Dortmund
- Manchester City head to Borussia Dortmund with a slender one-goal advantage
- City have been knocked out at the quarter-final stage in the last three seasons
- Individual errors bedevilled their defeats by Liverpool, Tottenham and Lyon
- And Ilkay Gundogan has urged his side to show stronger mettle in adversity
Ilkay Gundogan called on Manchester City to show stronger mettle in the face of setbacks as they aim to reach the Champions League’s last four for the first time under Pep Guardiola.
City go to Dortmund with a slender one-goal advantage having been knocked out of the competition at the quarter-final stage in each of the past three seasons.
Those defeats – against Liverpool, Tottenham and Lyon – were all laced with individual errors and a lack of composure when going behind.
Ilkay Gundogan called on Manchester City to show stronger mettle in the face of setbacks
City have been knocked out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage in each of the past three seasons
‘I have expectations for myself and for my teammates and I know that we have a great team and are capable of going into the semi-finals,’ Gundogan said.
‘We should have been there in the last few seasons already but we were lacking something. People sometimes unnecessarily made individual mistakes that led to goals we conceded and then obviously it is tough.
‘I remember the Tottenham game we played at home, we conceded three goals, Liverpool at home we conceded two goals. When you concede this amount of goals in your home stadium, it is obviously not easy.
‘I feel like we are much more stable at the moment in the season, especially defensively. We are defending quite well. The more you proceed in this competition, the more important it gets.
They are aiming to reach the last four of the competition for the first time under Pep Guardiola
‘Obviously it gives you a safe feeling when you know that your defensive line is working great and you are generally working as a team defensively very well, combined with the feeling that we know we are always able to score. That is great potential.’
Guardiola claimed he ‘doesn’t know’ how his players will react in Wednesday’s second leg but believes in the team’s unit. The Catalan also seemed to quash any suggestion of tactical tinkering.
‘I’ve not said anything special. We’re not going to do anything special,’ Guardiola said. ‘Each one has to try to be a leader on the pitch. The guy who feels comfortable during the game takes more responsibility to be more involved.
‘The guys who are more nervous: do your job, play simple, be calm. Maybe five minutes later you’ll be ready to do a good performance.
City go to Dortmund with a slender one-goal advantage after Phil Foden’s late winner
‘They are human beings. People forget about that. Human beings have feelings. We know what we have to do. Do what we’ve done all season. If we win, we have to deserve it – we have to go for it.
‘That is going to happen. We’ve done it an effective way. Of course you have to control your emotions but sometimes you need emotion to win this type of game.’
Gundogan also hopes the weekend defeat by Leeds United – when Guardiola made seven changes – could help City.
‘Maybe it was a warning or a signal for us,’ he added. ‘If it turns out to be like that. We will probably know after the game tomorrow. I’ll take that defeat then. But of course we went into that game also to win it.
Gundogan also hopes the shock weekend defeat by Leeds United could help City
‘Now we face a different competition, a different team and we are totally focused on that and then we will focus on the other competitions.
‘Going to Dortmund, facing Borussia Dortmund knowing that there is no crowd feels like it’s a bit of a disadvantage for Borussia Dortmund because I played there five years and I know how incredible the crowd is and the support is and how loud it can be also in that stadium.
‘For them, knowing there is no crowd to support them – and the same for us in our stadium – there is something missing in football at the moment and we can’t wait to have crowds back in stadiums.’
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