Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has insisted he will not take his good run of form for granted as he continues to impress in a new role for the club.
The German midfielder has been in sensational form since the middle of December when he bagged his first goal of the season in a 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion.
Since then he’s scored eight goals in the following ten games, more than any other player in the same period, including two in Sunday’s 4-1 rout of Liverpool.
His form has not gone unnoticed, with him named the Premier League Player of the Month as a result of his impressive displays.
His goalscoring form has baffled most, including the player, although now he says it’s due to a change in his role under Pep Guardiola.
“I think I’ve had periods in my career in the past that have been similarly good in terms of the way I’ve played football,” he told Sky Sport Germany.
“The food is, of course, the goals, the numbers are just better, so maybe it stands out even more, but it’s also because I’m just playing a more attacking role at the moment that maybe I’m a bit more free in terms of getting to the goal.
“It’s also the hard work I’m doing. I mean, I’m trying to be as good as I can in training and trying to look after myself in my personal life.
“Clearly at the moment, I’m not going out anyway so I’m spending 90% of my time at home and the other 10% in training and travelling.
“I just try to do everything as good as possible and take care of myself as much as possible.
“I’m glad that it’s going so well at the moment, but I don’t take it for granted, and I know that it takes a lot of work and that’s why I try to continue like this.”
Gundogan’s new role has largely come about thanks to the absence of star man Kevin de Bruyne, who’s injury was felt could derail Manchester City’s title bid.
Instead, Gundogan has stepped into the void to fill the creative gap left by the Belgian’s absence, with his goalscoring form helping City put together an impressive run of form over the last month.
His position in the team has certainly changed with that, the 30-year-old playing a more box to box midfield role as opposed to the defensive one he’s been used in for most of his career.
It’s a change he’s happy with, although he insists if the time comes for him to move back again, he’ll have no issues.
“Of course it’s better to play in the offensive role, it’s nicer to get into goal-threatening spaces,” he said.
“Nonetheless, if I play a bit more defensively I’ve been able to take on even more responsibility when I’m on the ball as far as the play is concerned that’s also a way of playing football that I enjoy.
“I just think the flexibility in my game is good for us as a team and if I’m needed as a sixth player again, of course, I’ll be there.
“I’m also happy that it’s worked out that way at the moment I’m in this attacking eight role which is the best I can do.”
While Gundogan’s form has skyrocketed, so has that of his team, who are building up a head of steam that looks unlikely to diminish any time soon.
Pep Guardiola’s side are currently unbeaten in their last 22 games in all competitions, with their last defeat coming to Tottenham back in November.
They have also won their last 15 games in all competitions, with their latest success, a 3-1 win over Swansea in the FA Cup, setting a new record for the longest run by a top-flight side in English football history.
That run has seen them surge to the top of the Premier League table and Gundogan believes they are favourites if they carry on the way they are going.
“If we continue to play football in this way, then I believe that we are definitely the top favourite,” he added.
“But as I said, there is a lot of work involved, not just for me personally, for each player individually and then also as a team.
“We know what we have achieved in the last few weeks, which also brings with it a responsibility.
“Accordingly we have to face up to that responsibility, because of course we want to be champions in the end, and then we will be at the top.”