Gundogan believes ‘having a proper number nine’ will be the difference for Man City in Europe

Date published: Wednesday 14th September 2022 12:36 - Ben Stewart

Ilkay Gundogan of Manchester City, on Sep 6, 2022

Man City have famously struggled in Europe over the years, but Ilkay Gundogan believes that Erling Haaland will make all the difference this season.

Since his arrival in 2016, Pep Guardiola has won 11 trophies but the Champions League has always managed to escape him.

Last season they crashed out against Real Madrid, despite having 31 shots across both legs.

Haaland has already taken the Premier League by storm and Gundogan thinks that their new number nine will be the difference in them getting over the line.

One player per Premier League club who absolutely definitely *isn’t* going to the World Cup

Gundogan explained (via Manchester Evening News): “I think [Haaland has started] very well and the numbers they speak for themselves.

“I think the club has signed an incredible player.”

It has only taken Haaland six matches to score 10 Premier League goals and he is already off the mark with a brace in the Champions League.

Guardiola’s side managed to win back-to-back Premier League titles whilst using a false-nine system, but Gundogan believes Haaland will be the difference for them in Europe this season.

Gundogan adds: “This year having a proper number nine playing as a striker is going to help us a lot.

“We will see and the Champions League is an incredible thing to achieve.

“It is never easy to play in this competition and sometimes little details can decide the outcome.”

Haaland’s record in the Champions League is absolutely staggering as he has scored 25 goals in just 20 appearances.

Tonight he will take on his former club as Man City face Borussia Dortmund at the Etihad.

Man City made it all the way to the final in 2021 and Gundogan is hopeful that the squad can learn from their previous experiences.

“You should not regret anything and it was incredible to play in the final with this club.

“So we will try to get there again and hopefully to do better to try to reach the maximum.

“We will try and see what will happen.”

Since arriving in Manchester, Guardiola has spent around £1billion on transfers and so naturally the pressure will continue to grow until he is able to deliver the Champions League.

During Guardiola’s time at City, they have been knocked out by Monaco, Liverpool, Spurs, Lyon, Chelsea and Real Madrid.

Gundogan is now entering his seventh season with Man City and he was recently appointed as their new captain, following the departure of Fernandinho in the summer.

The German midfielder knows all about popping up with big moments as he scored a brace against Aston Villa on the final day of last season to clinch the Premier League title.

“My role has maybe changed a little bit and become a little bit more about organisation.

“I was lucky enough to have Fernandinho and I have called him a couple of times for some advice.

“We have players who are really good guys and they are really important for the dressing room and big characters are stepping up.”

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