MANCHESTER: Ilkay Gundogan hailed Manchester City’s “incredible” Premier League title triumph as the German midfielder came off the bench to spark their astonishing fightback to beat Aston Villa 3-2 on the last day of the season.
Pep Guardiola’s side were in grave danger of blowing the title after falling two goals behind at the Etihad Stadium, with a victory required to be sure of pipping Liverpool to the trophy.
But German international Gundogan proved City’s super-sub as he headed home to give them a lifeline in the 76th minute.
After Rodri equalised, it was Gundogan who wrote his name into City’s history books with the 81st minute winner from Kevin De Bruyne’s cross.
City finished just one point ahead of Liverpool, who beat Wolves 3-1 in their last game, and Gundogan admitted he was almost lost for words after the dramatic denouement.
“It was an unbelievable game. I don’t know what to say to be honest,” Gundogan said.
“We are human beings and after going 2-0 down the chances were just very, very small. But we had to do the simple things and scoring two goals quickly and then having 10 minutes to score the third one gave us the right lift.
“It was about getting that goal and then the momentum was on our side then we were able to score three goals in just a few minutes. These are the days you look back to, it was an unbelievable game.”
Gundogan paid tribute to Liverpool boss Klopp, who he played for at Borussia Dortmund, for pushing City to the wire before falling short in their bid for an unprecedented quadruple.
Liverpool trailed City by 14 points in January and only Gundogan’s last-gasp heroics stopped the Reds stealing away the title.
“I know it’s tough to say but if Liverpool do not play the way they play, incredible football and successful, I don't think this league could have been that attractive,” Gundogan said.
“Even though they finished behind us, I think they played an incredible season. We pushed each other to the limits again.
“Even though it is a sad day for them, we need to appreciate what they have done, especially my former coach who I still like a lot.” – AFP