Ilkay Gundogan has admitted that Manchester City “were left behind” by Liverpool in the title race this season.
Pep Guardiola guided City to a third Premier League crown in 2017-18, as his side blew away the competition to set a new all-time points record of 100. The Blues retained their crown the following season after edging a tense race ahead of Liverpool, who ultimately missed out on English football’s top prize by a single point.
City were tipped by many to continue their dominance, but the Reds are on the verge of knocking them off their perch after winning 27 of their 29 fixtures so far this season.
The City midfielder told Turkish publication Fanatik:
“We were left behind in the championship race this season in the Premier League. We couldn’t show an effect like the last two seasons [when] we are champions.
“Whether we play good football or play good matches, there are points we have simply lost. Liverpool came to this level without losing many points, so we lost a lot of points, so the difference increased.”
Gundogan has enjoyed a prominent role in Guardiola’s squad since swapping Dortmund for City in 2016. The 29-year-old also had the privilege of playing under Klopp at Westfalenstadion, and he sees both men as the “top two teachers” in world football.
“Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola are the two best teachers in the world,” said Gundogan. “Four years have passed with Klopp. A teacher I love very much. He creates an amazing team spirit and motivates footballers incredibly.
“Pep is at a very high tactical level. A teacher who wants to know every detail of the game. I have not seen a teacher who improved himself tactically.
“Their styles are different, but both are very successful. Although they are very different, they are both the world’s top two teachers for now.”