Gundogan on guard of honour: You have to accept when someone is better

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Ilkay Gundogan has no issues with giving Premier League champions Liverpool a guard of honour as he acknowledges Manchester City must accept the Reds have been the better side.

A week after City's 2-1 loss to Chelsea confirmed Liverpool as champions, Jurgen Klopp's side head to the Etihad Stadium to face the side 23 points beneath them in the table.

As it is their first game since they sealed the title, Liverpool will be afforded a guard of honour by their next opponents, a tradition Guardiola has already said his team intend to observe.

Gundogan, who was part of the City side that won back-to-back titles prior to this season, has no qualms with standing in line and applauding the players of a rival due to their dominance across the campaign. 

"I am not sure if I have done it before to be honest," the Germany international said.

"It is a tradition in England so obviously we will follow tradition. They deserve it because they are the champions.

"I can imagine that people from the outside such as media and fans make it bigger than it actually is. A lot of people also think that we are enemies but I think we are just rivals. Rivals who play to win.

"That's what they do and that is what we do. If someone is better than you, whether that is in a game or competition, you have to accept it and congratulate them.

"Next time, when you get the chance, you have to take the chance and make it better. That is how I see it."

City will bid to dethrone Liverpool next season without midfielder David Silva as he is leaving the club after 10 years.

His exit is expected to provide more opportunities for 20-year-old midfielder Phil Foden, who has only started four Premier League games this season but has impressed in appearances off the bench and in training, with Gundogan convinced he can be Silva's heir.

"His numbers are getting better and also his influence on our game is improving," Gundogan added.

"I think he is on the right way, and with David leaving, it is more important for us to have someone to step into that role. Maybe not directly, but with time.

"He definitely has the potential and we are here to help him, to give him the support he needs, and I think he can show the best Phil Foden that he can be."

Source Omnisport