Ilkay Gundogan: ‘I think you have to give a lot of credit this season to our defensive work’

In Manchester City’s charge up the Premier League table, Ilkay Gundogan has found himself the center of focus and it would seem like the German international very much does not like to take the credits alone.

It’s very clear that for many years Gundogan was drastically under-appreciated for all his contributions to the team, If a gap in midfield needed plugging, Gundogan is more of a box-to-box player, City could rest assured that the Germany international would step into the fray with no qualms.

Unbelievably,  Gundogan has picked it up largely on his own while he has doubled his best ever goal tally for a season with 13 to his name, scoring 11 goals and provided two assists between December 15 and February 13 in the space of 12 league matches.

In the most crucial fixtures during City’s rise to the top of the table, it was Gundogan’s outstanding performance which was more consistent, scoring the first goal in wins over Chelsea and Liverpool, following a brace against the latter with another two in a 3-0 win over Tottenham.

Due to Gundogan’s incredible performances, he won Premier League Player of the Month, December, and never to be told, h has a sight for the second one in February.

Gundogan spoke to CBS Sports as he enjoys the best form of his life: “To be honest, I’m not enjoying [the attention] too much,”

“It’s nice to be recognized, to see people talk mostly in a good way about you, but of course I know how quickly that can turn around. It can get lost or you can get criticized if you don’t score for a couple of games.

“I take it as it is. I think I’m doing really well in terms of judging myself so even when there are games that I score two goals but I don’t play really well, I’m not satisfied. Of course there are many games where I don’t score and feel like I played really well. I don’t really care be focused on; sometimes I even think it’s better for me to not be in the focus because I feel like, when people in our culture and our religion have an eye on you, it’s not always as good as it sounds.

“I’m quite realistic in terms of knowing when I’m doing well and knowing also when I’m not doing well… I know which qualities the players have that are playing for us so I don’t try to do stuff that I’m not able to. I know how to help the team in the best possible way and that’s what I’m trying to do in every single game.”

“I think it’s just something that comes automatically, especially when you are missing these kinds of players who are obviously game-changers. Then maybe other players need to step up and need to be there and need to take responsibility.

“It’s not really something that I was planning to do because everyone is always involved in our game. It’s not really up to one or two players.”

Gundogan is keen to ensure that his defensive colleagues get their share of the glory for the success of City:

“I think you have to give a lot of credit this season to our defensive work and obviously John Stones and Ruben Dias are in the center of that. They are doing incredibly well.

“The number of clean sheets we have had already so far is amazing but someone like Joao, especially with the ball, became very important to us because he has freedom to go into the midfield, of being able to create something there, to take responsibility to take the ball there and he has those qualities; to play in the middle, to pass the ball, to dribble to beat the player.

“He has these qualities to do that and I think he’s very comfortable at the moment with the way we are playing.”

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