{
    "title": "City finish off Basle in 23 minutes",
    "image": "https:\/\/images.supersport.com\/2018\/2\/Ilkay-Gundogan-180213-Celebrates-G300.jpg",
    "body": "<p>Ilkay Gundogan says there is still more to come from Manchester City after their \"perfect\" 4-0 rout of Basle left them on the verge of the Champions League quarterfinals.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nThe runaway Premier League leaders destroyed Basle's morale with a three-goal burst after just 23 minutes of the first leg last-16 mismatch.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nCity's first three goals came in a devastating nine-minute spell thanks to a header from Gundogan, a Bernardo Silva volley and a long-range Sergio Aguero strike.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nIt was Aguero's 14th goal in 11 games in 2018.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nGundogan added a fourth after the break and was only denied a hat-trick by the dogged determination of Basle goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nThe tie looks all but settled ahead of the return leg at the Etihad on March 7.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nGundogan says City can do better and he threw down the gauntlet to their Champions League rivals. <\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"The result was maybe perfect, but there are still plenty of things to improve,\" said Gundogan<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nThe 27-year-old German singled out City's playmaker Kevin de Bruyne for his part in his opening goal.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"I had the opponent on my back so it was not really easy to head it, but the timing was perfect and the ball was perfect from Kevin,\" said Gundogan.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nPep Guardiola's City starved Basle of the ball, enjoying 69-percent possession.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n<b> 'CLINICAL' <\/b><\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"To win 4-0 away in the last 16 is an amazing result, we are almost in the quarterfinals, but I am not saying we are already there, out of respect for Basle,\" said Guardiola.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"We defended well and we were clinical \u2013 we had four chances and took them all.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"If we get to the quarterfinals that is already better than last season and that is the first step for us.\"<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nThe Spaniard heaped praise on Gundogan and his midfield teammates, including David Silva who made a return off the bench after injury.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"Ilkay is a guy with special quality, he is an amazing midfield player who has a sense for goal,\" said Guardiola.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"He was out for six or seven months last season and we missed him, he is an outstanding player who doesn't feel the pressure.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"With De Bruyne and David Silva, we have a fantastic midfield trio.\"<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nThis was City's 34th win in all competitions this season \u2013 one more than they managed in the whole of 2016-2017.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nCity's captain Vincent Kompany made his first Champions League appearance this season after a calf injury. He urged his team to give themselves a rousing victory margin in the second leg.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"If we have this game at the Etihad and it's a 3-2 or a 2-2 draw that won't give us a good feeling to go to the next round,\" said the burly Belgian.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n<b> KEY RETURNS <\/b><\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"We have showed we were the better team today and only for a lack of motivation or effort can we not do the same at home.\"<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nGuardiola said the return of David Silva and Leroy Sane, who both came on in the second half, boosts City's chances in the coming weeks.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nThey play Wigan away on Saturday, face Arsenal in back-to-back matches starting with the League Cup final on February 25, then host Chelsea on March 4.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nSane's return from an ankle injury after only two weeks was a surprise with the German back - a month ahead of schedule.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"Leroy Sane lacks rhythm, but he showed a lot of courage to be here with us,\" said Guardiola.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nBoth Kompany and Guardiola criticised Basle's Sankt Jakob Park pitch.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"I thought the pitch was a bit difficult, it was freezing out there,\" said Kompany while Guardiola described the pitch as \"dangerous\".<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nBasle boss Raphael Wicky said the first leg has been effectively decided by City's first-half goal flurry.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"They were very clinical, the first few goals were given away too easy and when you are 3-0 down after 23 minutes, it's obviously over,\" said the Swiss.<\/p>",
    "blurb": "Ilkay Gundogan says there is still more to come from Manchester City after their \"perfect\" 4-0 rout of Basle left them on the verge of the Champions League quarterfinals.",
    "date": "2018-02-14T08:45:14",
    "author": "",
    "credit": "Reuters",
    "img_credit": "Ilkay Gundogan \u00a9 Getty Images",
    "category": "Champions League",
    "videos": []
}