LEROY SANE:'WE WANT IT ALL'
Leroy Sane believes City’s exploits in cup competitions so far this season have helped the Blues gather momentum as the campaign progresses at a relentless pace.
Today’s opponents Arsenal know how important silverware can be to keep a season driving forward, with few sides able to match the Gunners’ domestically in knock-out competitions over the past 20 years (13 trophies won)and, of course, they were City’s opponents last season in the Carabao Cup – a competition that the Blues have dominated over the past five years or so.
“It was good for us last season to beat Arsenal at Wembley and have a good feeling, win a trophy and maybe for some players it was their first one in England,” said Sane. “That gives you the feeling of how nice it is to win a trophy and it makes you more motivated to push more to keep going in the other tournaments to win another trophy. I think and hope we can do it this season again when we play Chelsea in the final.
“We are in the last 16 of the FA Cup, too and it is a competition we also want to win because It means a lot; the coach, the players and our supporters - we all want to win the FA Cup, but I think maybe only David Silva and Vincent Kompany have experienced that in our current squad. Everyone can see how it was in the Carabao Cup, to go to the final at Wembley and win it. It’s such an amazing thing and it’s why everyone is so motivated to reach more finals.”
With Sane having another excellent season, the young German winger admits is always working hard to improve and remain consistent. His stats this season – 11 goals and 13 assists – makes him one of the Premier League’s most productive attackers. Now he is aiming to end the final few months of the campaign with all cylinders firing as City chase silverware on four fronts.
“It’s difficult to be at your very best every time you play,” said Sane. “Everyone could see at the Huddersfield game that it’s hard to always play your best, you can always make mistakes, they can happen out of nowhere. You can’t just decide ‘I’m not doing any mistakes!’ We try to improve every day in our training sessions and every game to not make as many mistakes, but it’s hard sometimes to play always at your best. Everyone pushes to get better and improve a lot.”
Sane’s best form has come in games against the top clubs and his three goals and one assists against the Gunners is bettered only by the four goals he has scored against Liverpool – and talk of the current Premier League leaders leads to the inevitable question of how he feels City’s pursuit of the Merseysiders is shaping up.
“I think it’s kind of more enjoyable because it motivates you to say we want to be first, we can put pressure on them, and it makes you want to work harder, he said.
“It’s never easy to defend a title. I think this is sometimes the reason for it – if we win then people want to win against the champions and be able to say they have beat the champions and other teams can’t. That’s why it’s so difficult for the next season. All the teams want to play at their best level, everyone wants to beat the champions or want to be the champions themselves, so that makes it more difficult. Liverpool have a lot of players with a lot of experience. Even last season, they reached the Champions League final, so they know how to do it. We all know what we did last season, we’re still doing it this season and we all know exactly what we have to do and that’s the important thing.
“We have important games coming up this month, but I’m just looking forward to it. I think we’re all excited to play those games. That’s why everyone is working hard, to play well, to be on our best for those games coming up.”
And Sane’s continued development, he suggests, is down to working with Pep Guardiola on a daily basis. He added: “I think it’s good; I think it’s the best thing a player can have to improve and always be the best level that I can be, to take me to the next level. This is what he wants for all his players, to try and help them to the next level. Everyone knows how he is. He wants to win, he wants to be perfect in everything and it’s a good thing because everyone knows he wants to win trophies. That pushes us more and motivates us more. He always pushes us, but says we have to motivate ourselves too, to say we want to win trophies, games and improve and be better. That’s what makes better players.
“Pep pushes us to play well and hopefully at the end of the season we can win trophies. Everyone can see our team spirit]. Everyone wants to play, to win, to not concede goals, to score goals, to give an assist, to play well and I think this pushes each other in the team to and makes our level so high. We just need to maintain that in the games that remain, and I’m certain we will, starting today against Arsenal which is always a difficult game.”