Ilkay Gundogan has described the emotion he felt lifting his first piece of silverware in English football.
City beat Arsenal 3-0 in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final at Wembley - our first trophy under the management of Pep Guardiola - with goals from Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany and David Silva sealing our fifth League Cup success.
Gundogan says it was a special moment for the Club’s players and staff but admits it will be difficult to celebrate too much with the crucial Premier League trip to Arsenal coming just four days after the final.
“Today just feels great,” he said. “We were able to lift our first trophy.
“We enjoy the moment now, even though it’s still quite early in the season. It’s weird for me; I’m not used to playing a final in the middle of the season. I need to get used to that.
“There’s still plenty of games to play – huge games to play – and the first one is Thursday against the same opponent. It doesn’t stop.
“There’s not really a break to relax and enjoy. From tomorrow on we try to prepare the game for Thursday and try to get another win.”
City struggled to play with fluidity in the opening 45 minutes and had to endure some nervy moments before Aguero’s opener after 18 minutes.
But the second half saw a significant improvement as City began controlling possession and creating clear chances.
It was a marked difference, something Gundogan puts down to Guardiola’s calming half-time words.
“He just reminded us that even though it’s a final we have to play our type of football,” the German midfielder said.
“In the first half we were not always able to play it. We just went out in the second half and tried it, and we were successful.
“That’s why we scored two more and won the game.”
The pick of City’s goals was the opener, scored by Aguero after a quite brilliant long-range pass from Claudio Bravo.
It was one of the finest assists of the season so far, with the City ‘keeper producing 50-yard ball that landed perfectly in Aguero’s path.
The Argentine, as ever, was cool as you like, producing a fine lob over David Ospina that left the Arsenal stopper stranded.
It was a deviation from City’s usual short passing game but it’s a tactic Gundogan says is always an option given the quality Bravo possesses.
“When our goalkeeper sees our front three when they are men against men, we try to put the ball high because it’s even more dangerous for our opponents,” he said.
“Claudio did that well, especially when we scored and a great finish by Kun.
“That helped us a lot to get into the game and it’s definitely a solution for us.”