Ilkay Gundogan has dismissed the possibility that Manchester City could go the whole season unbeaten despite their brilliant start to the campaign.
City have lost just twice in the Premier League since the start of the 2017-18 season, and have already played away at three of their top-six rivals this year, with a trip to Chelsea coming on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola said City would not go unbeaten last season despite their record of no defeats in the first five months, and Gundogan said the focus is purely on defending their title.
“I don’t think we regard ourselves as invincible,” he told kicker magazine. “That would be arrogant indeed. But we have a coach who sets an example of perfection every single day through his work on the training ground and when addressing the squad.
“We’ve got a broad squad with more than 11 top players. Nobody can rest or be too sure he makes the starting formation. We get enough playing with all the competitions we play in.
“The positive results make every player feel that a lot is possible here. That way we can win several trophies — if we continue like that. And driven by this ambition to win we are one on the pitch and in the dressing room. No matter who plays.”
While City only lost twice in the Premier League last season, two cup runs were halted in dramatic fashion — losing home and away to Liverpool in the Champions League and suffering a shock defeat to League One side Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup.
Europe is a top priority for the club and Gundogan said the defeats to Jurgen Klopp’s side last season showed how they cannot afford any slip-ups if they are to win the Champions League.
“We were made to feel those dangers in Champions League and FA Cup last season,” he said. “You can control 95 percent of your matches in European club football and still end up without a trophy at the end.
“We played one weak half against Liverpool in Champions League and that was that one weak half too many. Bad luck might add to it, maybe a referee decision — and that’s the end of it. It could happen to us again this season no matter how many teams we’ve thrashed before.
“But the good thing is, this season we are warned, we are more experienced. We are determined to make a deep run. Ideally, we won’t stop before we have that Champions League trophy.”
Gundogan said that Guardiola, who won the Treble during his time at Barcelona, knows what it takes to compete for every trophy.
“Our coach was a world class player himself, who can perfectly assess everything around those two difficult games per week,” he said. “What they mean mentally and physically. Accordingly, he can manage everything, so we can access our potential, just like we did in recent weeks.”