Men's Team

Gundogan: 'Stable' City ready to take next step in Europe

Gundogan: 'Stable' City ready to take next step in Europe
Ilkay Gundogan says he believes City have the necessary mindset and stability to take the next step forward in the Champions League ahead of Wednesday’s quarter-final decider away to Borussia Dortmund.

City will take a 2-1 advantage from the first leg into our eagerly-awaited second leg against the Bundesliga outfit.

If last week’s clash at the Etihad is anything to go by, it promises to be a thrilling and absorbing encounter.

But after tasting disappointment at the quarter-final stage in the past three seasons, losing to Liverpool, Tottenham and Lyon, Gundogan believes that City have accrued the experience and defensive solidity needed to go on and reach what would only be our second Champions League semi-final.

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“For me it is very important (to take the next step in Europe). I have expectations to myself. I have expectations to my teammates, to my team,” Gundogan asserted at Tuesday's pre-match press conference.

“I know we have great players and a great team and should have been to the semis earlier. We were lacking something. We made little mistakes which led to goals.

“I remember the Spurs game at home (in 2019) where we conceded three goals, Liverpool at home (in 2018) where we conceded two goals.

“When you concede this amount of goals in the leg at home, it is not easy.

“I feel like we are much more stable at the moment. We are defending well.

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“I think the more you proceed in this competition, the more important it gets.

“It gives you confidence when you know the goalkeeper and the defence are working well and combined with the feeling we can score, that’s a great potential.

“The Champions League is a great competition to be a part of. I remember growing up and watching Champions League games with the family. It was like a festival.

“It's the highest level you can play. That’s what I love about the competition. It is something I definitely want to achieve, to win the trophy.

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“We have a really good chance with this club. It is not just about chances, it is about taking them. We try to go step to step. This year is another chance.”

City will step out at the Signal Iduna Park with the tie still very much on a knife edge.

And with the winners facing a semi-final assignment against either Paris Saint-Germain or holders Bayern Munich, the road to the 2021 final in Istanbul will remain fraught with tough obstacles.

However, Gundogan insisted that playing at this elite level meant that there would inevitably be tough moments to navigate for every team.

“We need to learn it is normal to struggle,” the midfielder added.

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“At this stage, playing against the best teams in Europe, it is normal.

“Everyone has quality. It is normal when you concede a goal. Maybe it is something we are not too used too, conceding or struggling because we are used to dominating the game and having possession.

“It is completely normal in the Champions League and Premier League that there are games that might not be that easy.

“Just learning to deal with it, is the only thing that was missing, especially when you talk about that Spurs second leg when we won 4-3.

“In the first leg, conceding the first goal was unnecessary. But we still had 60 minutes to play, so just dealing with that situation is something we might need to learn still.

“These stages will show it now. It is something we need to accept, if you like.”

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