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Gundogan tells Man City to pull out all the stops as treble looms large

SoccerNews in FA Cup 18 Apr 2023

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Ilkay Gundogan promised Manchester City “will fight to the end” as they bid to match Manchester United’s famous 1998-99 treble feat.

Captain Gundogan is in his seventh season at City and is chasing a fifth Premier League title, a second FA Cup and a first Champions League crown.

United great Gary Neville has described City as being “far too close for comfort” to matching the Red Devils’ famous feat of 24 years ago.

This week sees City in Champions League and FA Cup action, with a 3-0 advantage to carry into their European quarter-final second leg at Bayern Munich on Wednesday ahead of a domestic semi-final against Sheffield United at Wembley on Saturday.

They are in hot pursuit of a faltering Arsenal in the Premier League and host the Gunners next week in that competition.

City have never won the Champions League and ending that wait is becoming an obsession, a remarkable situation considering they were relegated to the third tier of English football 25 years ago.

Huge investment since has made the dream possible, and Gundogan said: “Of course we want to win this trophy. It’s our big dream to win the Champions League.”

In an interview with German outlet T-Online, he added: “But we want to win all the trophies this year. It’s going to be a really exciting end to this season, and we’re going to fight for it to the end.”

The midfielder, whose contract expires after this campaign, described it as the players’ “responsibility to do everything we can to end the season strong so that we can all celebrate success in the end”.

It was Gundogan who scored twice in the closing moments of last season as City came from 2-0 behind to beat Aston Villa 3-2 and win the Premier League title.

This term he has managed five goals and four assists, well down on his return from the past two campaigns (2021: 17 goals, four assists; 2022: 10 goals, seven assists), but he remains highly influential and City would like to keep him.

It remains to be seen whether Gundogan remains a City player when the Euro 2024 finals roll around next year, with Germany hosting.

The 32-year-old certainly hopes to still be in favour with his national team, saying it “would be a privilege” to feature.

Considering Germany have gone out in the group stage at the last two World Cups, and lost to England in the last 16 of the delayed Euro 2020 finals, they will have to markedly step it up if they are to be competitive in front of home crowds.

“We all know that we have to improve and deliver better performances and results – even before the tournament,” Gundogan said.

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