CompetitionsPremier League

Ilkay Gundogan is special in front of goal, says Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola has lauded the quality of Ilkay Gundogan’s nerveless finishing.

Gundogan has hit a rich vein of form to propel Manchester City’s recent charge to the top of the Premier League.

The German midfielder has scored seven goals in his last 10 appearances, helping fuel City’s current run of 11 successive victories in all competitions.

His two-goal showing in Tuesday’s 5-0 thrashing of West Brom was particularly impressive and, having been given more attacking responsibility this season, the 30-year-old is clearly thriving.

City manager Guardiola said: “He has a special sense of finishing. There are players who are in front of the keeper and could take a coffee and still have time to finish and the others get nervous. It is a quality in itself.

“The last two goals in the game against West Brom explain perfectly the quality because it shows how quickly he moves and the quality of the shot. It is not easy to find that.

“We are delighted because it is not easy to control the players who come from the second line behind. It is easier to control the strikers but more difficult for the players in behind and he is exceptional.”

City have won their last seven games in the Premier League and their unbeaten run extends to 18 games overall.

They are now form title favourites but, ahead of Saturday’s clash against a Sheffield United side that shocked Manchester United in midweek, Guardiola is ignoring such talk.

Guardiola is preparing his side to face Sheffield United this weekend
Guardiola is preparing his side to face Sheffield United this weekend (Martin Rickett/PA)

Guardiola said: “The pundits are always good when we win but, not one month ago, we were not even in Champions League qualification for next season and now we are the only favourites.

“In 11 months you have good and bad moments. We will have bad moments.

“We have won 11 games in a row, that is quite exceptional in the times we are living, but we are going to lose games and drop points. It is how we recover that and be stable in that position.

“My only concern is Sheffield United. All the games this season have been so tough and I know it.

“We have to discover what we can to do better than in the game we won in Sheffield at the beginning of the season when we were not really good.

“I am not concerned with the pundits’ opinion. It is their job and I respect that a lot but it goes in one ear and out the other.”

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