Manchester United have won more points in the Premier League since August 22 and are currently on an eight-game winning streak in four, so make Manchester City nervous
Ilkay Gundogan reckons Manchester City face their biggest derby test of recent years at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola’s champions go into the clash with United on the back of Wednesday’s 2-0 EFL Cup defeat away to Southampton. Since their 2-1 win over Liverpool on August 22, no team has won more points in the Premier League than United, who have amassed 35 to rise to fourth in the table.
It is a remarkable turnaround, given United were rock bottom of the Premier League after two games, after humiliating defeats to Brighton and Brentford. Midfielder Gundogan has been impressed the way Erik ten Hag has transformed United in his first season and claimed City will need to raise their game if they want to win.
“United are in a very good moment right now, full of confidence, they’re hungry, they want to win,” said Gundogan. “They recruited some really good players in the summer and sometimes it takes time.
“It looks like it’s starting to click between them so it’s going to be a very tough game – probably the toughest game in the Manchester derby for us in recent years. Going to Old Trafford is always special, it’s going to be really hard, and we need a much better performance.
“But we’re quite confident. We have a lot of quality in our squad. I know what we’re able to do on the pitch – we all know. It’s just about having the right attitude, being ready to take on every challenge.
“Right now, I’m confident, even though I’m still frustrated, sad and disappointed from this game [Southampton]. I’m confident we are going to show a different phase on Saturday in the derby.”
Ilkay Gundogan is worried about Man Utd’s renewed strength ahead of the Manchester derby ( Image: Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)
Reflecting on the defeat to Saints, Gundogan said: “Very disappointing. Obviously, we knew that this was a tough side to play against. They played quite well, and, in the end, we were just not good enough. It was a poor performance from us – defensively and offensively. We didn’t deserve to win.
“It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, commitment and it wasn’t enough. If you are used to great performances from the side, then it’s probably more disappointing.
“Sometimes you probably need games like that – obviously it’s very frustrating and hard to take, but maybe it was a good level for us to get back to the efforts that have led us to success in recent years. It was just not enough from every single one of us. We lost a lot of easy balls, missed a lot of easy passes.”