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Gundogan: Focus won’t be a problem

MIDFIELD MAESTRO: Raheem Sterling congratulates Ilkay Gundogan on his second goal of the night.

MIDFIELD MAESTRO: Raheem Sterling congratulates Ilkay Gundogan on his second goal of the night.

Ilkay Gundogan says City won’t have any issues focusing on the job in hand ahead of Wednesday evening’s Champions League Round of 16 second leg against FC Basel.

The Blues established a comfortable 4-0 lead against the Swiss champions in Switzerland and start as odds-on favourites to progress to the quarter-finals.

But the Blues’ German midfielder says the players will treat the game like any other this season.

READ MORE: City v C Basel injury news

“It’s not that difficult,” said Gundogan. “It’s the second leg of the Champions League so it’s always an important game.

PASS MASTER: Ilkay Gundogan set a new Premier League record against Chelsea.

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“It’s a big stage, we want to win it.  We want to play in a serious way and play in our way.

“It’s not in our hands to say we are favourites. Everyone has their own opinion.

READ MORE: FC Basel scouting report

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s the Champions League or the Premier League - because we play quite well, people want to put us at the same level as Barcelona or Bayern.

“We feel like we want to compete against these teams, but we are not there yet. We want to be ready if we have to play them at any stage.

“We are still on a journey. We (Pep and I) started together with the club one-and-half years ago. We are not where we want to be, but we are happy with how it’s going at the moment. We have potential to achieve more.”

Gundogan, speaking at the FC Basel press conference, was asked whether he thought his long-term injuries had had any lasting effect on his abilities and whether in fact he is a better player now than before.

He responded: “I’m a different player right now with all the experiences I have had. I am not the same as I was three or four years ago.

“I have to accept what happened in the past, but I am very comfortable with the situation. I am enjoying my football and every game helps me to be more and more in my best form.

“Hard work pays off and that is definitely what I have done in the past month. If my team needs me I will always be ready.

“As for my role, I’ll play where my manager needs me. If I play as a defensive midfielder, I will try to fulfil it in a perfect way.

“If I need to be more disciplined, I will do that, but if I play a more offensive role I will do that, too.

“I always try play my role as best for the team and hopefully I can do that.”

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As the dust settles on Sunday’s victory over Chelsea and attentions turn to other matters, such as Wednesday night’s Champions League visit of Basel, there are plenty of topics for discussion.

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