Ilkay Gundogan is expecting a tough test from Tottenham in Manchester City’s Premier League opener in north London.
Pep Guardiola’s side have had to watch their rivals in action before taking to the field themselves, witnessing Manchester United’s dominant win over Leeds United and Chelsea’s comfortable triumph against Crystal Palace.
City have a tough start in their defence of the title, facing Spurs and having clashes with the likes of Arsenal, Leicester City, Chelsea and Liverpool in the early months of the campaign.
Gundogan is aware that it’s not going to be easy for the defending champions in their pursuit of a fourth Premier League title in five years, starting with the trip to face Spurs.
“It is a tough start. Everything would have been tough to be honest, because of the circumstances I feel like there is nothing easy anymore,” he told City’s official website.
“We are expecting a tough game and in general I think our [opening] fixtures are very difficult, but it is the way it is and it is the same thing for all teams. We just take it as it is and try to do our best.
“We will obviously try to start well, better than last season, at least until the international break. It still feels like we are in the middle of pre-season even though the first game is on Sunday.
“We need to be ready, I guess more ready mentally than physically. How ready can you be with just a week or ten days of training and then go straight into the season?
“It is about being ready mentally. It is similar as it was to the last few years, so it hasn’t changed that much. We are at the point now where we are just used to it and just have to accept it. In some years we started better and in some years we started worse.
“It is about being aware of your personal condition and just being mentally ready to go again, try to avoid the mistakes, try to keep the ball as much as possible because then you make the others run, simple things in the game that we pay a lot of attention to.”
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