Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says the club’s 20-game winning streak in all competitions is only possible due to the strength of their squad.
The Premier League leaders beat West Ham 2-1 on Saturday despite key players such as Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden all starting on the bench.
Despite rotating his squad, Guardiola’s side are unbeaten in their last 27 games in all competitions and will look to extend their record winning run to 21 matches when they host Wolves on Tuesday.
“It is one of the great things we have done in these four or five years we had together,” the City boss said on the achievement.
“We cannot do it [without this squad]. With the same starting eleven it is impossible. No human being can physically or mentally sustain this amount of games, season after season, if you have the same players.
“It is important that, apart from Nathan (Ake), everyone is fit and everyone is good. Every player has to play well, when they do so they will get chances, maybe the next game or in two games they will play again.”
Guardiola says City are entering a critical 10-day period as they close in on a second Premier League title in three seasons.
After Wolves on Tuesday, further home games follow against Manchester United and Southampton before a trip to Fulham on March 13, a run of fixtures which Guardiola hopes will cement their title hopes.
“We don’t want to stop. We know how important these 10 days are with Wolves, United and Southampton [at home] before we travel to Fulham,” Guardiola said.
“If we are able to do what we want to do, it will be an incredible step.”
City’s winning run is a record for an English top-flight team but Guardiola says they cannot enjoy that statistic yet.
He said: “We don’t have time. There are many games, every three days. We have to rest and think of another one.
“The day of the game, all the managers say that when you win you are happy that night. But the day after you think of the next one.”
West Ham manager David Moyes described City as the best team in Europe at the weekend but Guardiola claims proof of that will only come if they win trophies.
“The best team in Europe, in the world, are Bayern Munich because they won everything,” he said. “In England the champions are Liverpool, so they are the best.
“You have to win. In February or March, nobody is champions.”
Guardiola is taking nothing for granted ahead of Wolves’ visit to the Etihad Stadium after losing to them twice last season.
“The history against them shows us how tough it is,” said Guardiola. “We know it. We know exactly the type of game we have to play.
“We have to be so intense but, at the same time, calm. They have the ability to punish you. In the last two years, it was so tough.”
City have close to a fully-fit squad available with no fresh injury concerns after Saturday’s victory over West Ham.
Guardiola said: “Apart from Nathan (Ake) everyone is fine.”
Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher believes Manchester City have to win the Champions League this season if they are to be ranked among the greatest club sides in European football.
Carragher has warned that legendary status will not be applied to Guardiola’s side even if they set a new record for the longest winning run in Europe unless they crown their stunning form with their first Champions League success.
City – who are through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, will face Tottenham in the Carabao Cup final next month and are 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League – have already set a new record for the longest winning run by an English top division club in all competitions after registering 20 successive wins.
“What we are seeing is unprecedented and the Premier League is won,” concluded Carragher on Monday Night Football. “They have done the domestic treble a couple of years ago, and that had never been done before, and it looks like they are on for that again.
“If they can have the longest winning run, they don’t need that to prove they are a special team. But these type of stats – something which means a lot to you but you don’t get a trophy for – you can’t then use it at the end of your career if you haven’t won the European Cup. It’s almost as if you win the European Cup and then you have the stats with it.
“The actual teams [Ajax in 1972 and 1995, Bayern Munich in 2020, Real Madrid in 2014, and Barcelona in 2005-06] they are competing with for this European record are legendary teams and they all have the European Cup. That is something City need this season.
“I know in the past they have spoken about winning the quadruple, but l think Pep Guardiola was counting the Charity Shield, but we don’t as much in this country.
“You are actually looking at it now and thinking ‘it’s only Bayern Munich who can stop them’.