Ilkay Gundogan hailed City’s ‘incredible’ squad depth and flexibility as key traits of success.

The German midfielder, celebrating his 31st birthday today, made a welcome return to the starting XI in Saturday evening’s 4-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion, captaining the side and opening the scoring from close range.

The triumph at the AMEX Stadium also saw Phil Foden score twice and grab an assist in the ‘False 9’ role, while Riyad Mahrez chipped in with an injury-time goal from the bench.


Gundogan declared it is a pleasure to form part of such an exciting attacking ensemble, highlighting our strength in depth and adaptability as crucial components in the City machine.

“It is great to play with these players in one team and even the power we have from the bench in every single game, it is just incredible,” he said.

“With us not having that classical striker, we need a little bit more flexibility up front; to rotate and try to change positions.

“It is tough work. It doesn’t come automatically and it is not given – it is every training session and every single game and how we work. It pays off and it did.

“Especially against a team like Brighton, who play in most parts of the game one-v-one, it is very important.

“Obviously, it was good for us scoring three goals in the first half. It is normal that you come here and there are parts of your game that you also struggle.

“We did great in many parts of the game and that is why we also created many chances. We scored great goals and had chances to score more.


“At the end, the most important thing is that we are pleased with the performance in the big parts of the game and of course with the result.”

Reflecting on the win on the south coast, in which City stormed into a 3-0 first half lead and capped a fine victory with Mahrez’s late effort, Gundogan admitted that the second half performance did not match the ruthless first.

However, the German midfielder concluded the squad were pleased to come away with a win at a ground he believes few will conquer this season and hopes City can build on their recent run and drive momentum.

“For most parts of the game I think we are very happy,” he continued.

“We know that we came here playing against a tough side. They do very well, they keep the ball, they create chances.

“I guess a lot of teams will suffer in this season when they come here. I think we can be happy with the result.

“We had 25 minutes in the second half where we were dominated.

“I think we were struggling to keep the ball and to keep the rhythm in the game but it is what it is and we were fighting, defending and trying not to concede.

“Overall, we are very happy with the result. Our focus is to maintain that feeling.”