Pep Guardiola says Ilkay Gundogan fully deserves the widespread praise he is receiving this season.

Gundogan has been one of City’s stand-out performers and currently tops our goalscoring chart with 16 and counting in all competitions.

With City spending much of the season without a recognised striker due to injuries to Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero, Gundogan has provided much-needed firepower and played a central role in our run of 26 wins in our last 27 matches.

But it isn’t just his goals which have impressed. He remains one of the most intelligent players in City’s squad, capable of playing a number of different roles with equal aptitude.

And on the eve of his first match against Borussia Dortmund since leaving the German side to join City in 2016, Gundogan was praised by Guardiola, with the boss describing him as the ultimate team player who has been hugely influential to City’s recent era of success.

“He deserves this role of leadership through what he has done on the pitch,” he said.

“It is the best way to show his ability.

“I am delighted with the external recognition he gets now because he is scoring goals and making assists. He deserves it.


“I know how he behaved when he was injured and in bad moments. He is incredibly beloved because he is such an incredible guy.

“He thinks not just about himself but the team. He deserves what he builds. He is the same player.

“The year we won the second Premier League with 98 points, he was incredible as a holding midfielder.

“But now, of course, he is our top scorer and that’s why he gets the recognition now he deserves.”

Meanwhile, Guardiola admitted he found last season’s UEFA Champions League exit at the hands of Lyon difficult to take.

It was the third season in a row City had been eliminated at the quarter-final stage and Guardiola says he suffered emotionally in the aftermath.

However, City now have the chance to make it a stage further, with our two-legged tie against Borussia Dortmund in this season’s last-eight beginning at home on Tuesday evening.

And Guardiola says it’s the perfect chance to put the Lyon defeat behind us. 

“Of course [it was tough, emotionally],” Pep said. “It remains in my head for weeks. It was painful, I cannot deny it.

“It was the last game of the season. We wanted to go through. We congratulate Lyon. We didn’t do it quite well. We didn’t deserve to go through.

“It was painful of course, but what can we do? For a short time, ten days, we suffer. Then, we wake up and prepare for the next season.

“But the defeat hurts - especially this one. Day after, we say goodbye and everyone goes away. It was disappointing.

“But we are here again to try again.”

We will have full coverage of Tuesday’s game right here on

Join us from 6pm for live minute-by-minute text updates on our Matchday Centre. 

And then at 6.55pm, our We’re Not Really Here live show gets under way, with Paul Dickov and Andy Morrison our guests in the studio. 

We’ll have short highlights at 11pm - and CITY+ subscribers can watch a full 90-minute replay from midnight.