Phil Foden insists Manchester City remain fresh and ready to fight as their quadruple challenge continues apace.
City maintained their momentum as they claimed the edge in their Champions League quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.
Foden struck in the last minute to give the Premier League leaders a hard-earned 2-1 win in the first leg at the Etihad Stadium, moments after Marco Reus looked to have snatched a draw for German side.
“It is really hard sometimes, mentally and in your legs as well, after coming back from internationals, but we have a lot of players in the squad that are fresh and ready to play,” said midfielder Foden.
“The manager is rotating and so we are ready and I think as a team we are doing brilliantly. We are fighting for everything we can and are going to fight until the end.”
City had to dig deep for a victory which also contained an element of controversy.
Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring as City launched a ruthless counter-attack, also involving Riyad Mahrez and Foden, after Emre Can gave away possession in the 19th minute.
But, although City kept Dortmund star Erling Haaland relatively quiet, the visitors responded well and looked to have claimed a deserved equaliser through Jude Bellingham before the break.
Bellingham seized possession as he attempted to charge down an Ederson clearance and tapped the ball home, but referee Ovidiu Hategan bizarrely gave a foul against the England international.
It was not Romanian official Hategan’s only inglorious moment either, having earlier overturned a penalty award in City’s favour following a review on the pitchside monitor.
City did step up the tempo in the second period, with Foden twice testing Marwin Hitz and De Bruyne firing narrowly wide, but Haaland teed up Reus on 84 minutes.
It was not enough for a draw, as Foden had the final say as the clock ran down, but it could still prove a crucial away goal in a tie that is still alive heading into next week’s second leg.
Going with a lead to Germany 💪🏼🎱⚽ But gonna be another very difficult game next week against a tough opponent. @ChampionsLeague@ManCitypic.twitter.com/0FNKfuJGB7— Ilkay Gündogan (@IlkayGuendogan) April 6, 2021
Foden said: “It was a relief. We had a lot of chances, but in the end I’m just happy to score and help the team in a crucial time.
“But of course they are a great team. They are going to have spells where they have the ball as well and it is going to be a really interesting game in the second leg.
“They’re brilliant – a lot of young players, energetic. They can be in the box with three passes so they are very dangerous. We’ll have to stay focused for the full 90.”
Before next Wednesday’s trip to Dortmund, City host Leeds on Saturday lunchtime looking to take another step towards their third Premier League title in four years.
“We are in every competition,” said Foden, 20. “We just have to think about the next one now.
“You’ve heard the manager say that all year but it is very true. We have to keep focused on the next game and keep the energy levels.”
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