Another brilliant Premier League performance from Ilkay Gundogan not only led treble-chasing Manchester City to a 3-0 victory over Everton on Sunday, it had manager Pep Guardiola openly making the case to keep the German midfielder.
The 32-year-old, whose contract expires in June, proved his worth once again with two excellent goals at Goodison Park after netting another brace a week ago against Leeds.
“He shows again and again his quality and his importance,” Guardiola said. “His commitment to all of us at the club, it is not just scoring goals, he has his momentum because against Leeds he was the player and again today.
“He can do everything.”
Gundogan has been linked in rumours to Barcelona.
“Nobody knows what is going to happen, maybe he stays. Hopefully,” Guardiola said.
Asked if he had lobbied the club to keep him, the Spaniard replied: “Yes, I have told them.”
Guardiola said his captain is not a particularly vocal leader, but “when he talks, everyone listens. This is the power of a leader.
“He shows leadership every training session. Arriving on time, living the job 24 hours a day. He is a guy who handles the pressure really, really well.”
With three games to play, City appears unstoppable in its quest for a third consecutive Premier League title, recording its 11th win in a row on Sunday. It is also unbeaten in 22 games in all competitions.
But rather than celebrate, Guardiola made a beeline for Yerry Mina after the game’s final whistle, verbally blasting the Everton player after his heated duel all game with City star Erling Haaland.
“Mina? It’s not necessary what he does. Away from the football, it is not necessary to do what he does every single game. And I told him: ‘You are a good enough player to avoid these kind of things’.”
Guardiola would not elaborate on how exactly Mina had crossed the line.
“He knows. Ask him. This is not physical, this is not mental,” the manager said. “There are things that are not necessary to do that he does.”
When asked if he was bothered by another manager approaching his player post-game, Everton manager Sean Dyche said: “Every manager has their own way of operating. I’m certainly not going to be questioning Pep Guardiola.
“I wouldn’t question any manager, they can all do their business how they wish to.”
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