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'Something's off' - Gundogan blasts Man City team-mates for lack of 'desire'

8:37 pm AEDT 13/1/23
Ilkay Gundogan Manchester City 2022-23
Ilkay Gundogan admits that “something’s off” at Manchester City, with the German questioning a supposed lack of “desire” from Pep Guardiola’s side.
  • Champions not at their best of late
  • Out of the Carabao Cup
  • Preparing for derby date with United

WHAT HAPPENED? The reigning Premier League champions enjoyed a convincing 4-0 victory over Chelsea in the FA Cup third round on Sunday, but two points were dropped in a 1-1 draw at home to Everton on New Year’s Eve before a shock 2-0 defeat to Southampton in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals in midweek. City were also far from their best when edging out Chelsea in a top-flight fixture at Stamford Bridge, with Gundogan of the opinion that lofty standards have been allowed to slip at the Etihad Stadium.

WHAT THEY SAID: The German midfielder has said: “In the last two weeks, I feel like something was missing, something’s off. With the quality we have, we always have to win games. At the moment, it feels like there's a special ingredient missing; the performances, the desire, the hunger is maybe not as it was in recent years, so hopefully [the loss to Southampton] will be a wake-up call for us. Hopefully it was the right wake-up call for us. If it is it's something good we can take out of the game. We need to start the hard work again, be humble because things won't come to us automatically.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: City will need to raise their game when returning to Premier League action on Saturday, with Guardiola readying his troops for a derby date with neighbours Manchester United. Gundogan added on that contest – with the Red Devils enjoying an impressive run of form: “It can be a chance, straight away, to make things better. Obviously the derby is the derby, it's a completely different game. For us, playing at Old Trafford in recent years is a good memory, or was a good memory, but we also know we probably play against the best United side we have faced in recent years, full of confidence, full of commitment. With the players they got in over the summer, it feels like it's clicking right now in their squad, so it's going to be a very tough one. But we need to be up for the challenge, we need to put in a much better performance.”

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WHAT NEXT? Despite being a little off the pace of late, City are still through to the fourth round of the FA Cup, into the last-16 of the Champions League and are only five points back on leaders Arsenal in the defence of their Premier League title.