Ilkay Gundogan has accused Pep Guardiola’s side of “lacking desire and hunger” just 48 hours out from what he believes could be the toughest Manchester derby in years. The midfielder pulled no punches after Manchester City’s shock Carabao Cup quarter-final exit at the hands of Southampton, insisting the defeat needs to act as a “wake-up call”.
And he maintained that unless they can reconnect with the winning mentality that has brought them so much success they could be in for a shock at Old Trafford this weekend. “In the last two weeks, I feel like something was missing, something was off,” said Gundogan.
“With the quality we have, we always have to win games even when we don’t have the best day. At the moment, it feels like there’s a special recipe missing in the team; the performances, the desire, the hunger is maybe not as it was in recent years, so hopefully this loss to Southampton will be a wake-up call for us. If it turns out to be the one we needed it’s something good we can take out of the game.”
City failed to register a shot on target against Saints on the way to losing a first cup quarter-final in Guardiola’s time at the club. And with United on an eight-game winning streak in all competitions, Gundogan said they simply need to start working harder than they did at St Mary’s.
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“It is completely different to the game in October,” he said. “Manchester United are in a very good moment right now, full of confidence, they are hungry and they want to win.
“They recruited some really good players in the summer and sometimes it takes time but it looks like it’s starting to click between them so it’s going to be a very tough game – probably the toughest game in the Manchester derby for us in recent years.”
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