Oleksandr Zinchenko can feel a buzz in the Manchester City dressing room that reminds him of their past title-winning seasons.
The Premier League leaders’ momentum continued as they eased past Tottenham 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday with Ilkay Gundogan scoring twice.
City have now won 11 Premier League games in succession – and a top-flight club record 16 in all competitions – and are looking increasingly strong title favourites.
Zinchenko is not taking anything for granted yet but feels the spirit that carried the club to back-to-back crowns in 2018 and 2019 is very much alive.
“You should see our atmosphere in the dressing room before and after the game – it is something else,” said the Ukrainian left-back. “I would say this atmosphere reminds me at City of when we became champions twice in a row.
“It is all about consistency, rhythm and if you feel confidence inside of the team, between each other. We are working hard on that and every single day we are talking much more than before, between each other on the pitch. That is why we own this rhythm and shape.
“The run is an unbelievable achievement for the club, for the history. But honestly, inside the team, we don’t count games like that.
“We are just fully focused on the next games and trying to prepare as best as we can because there are still a lot of games ahead of us and a lot of season to come.”
City have now gone 23 games unbeaten in all competitions since their last loss, to Spurs, last November.
A repeat of that result did not seem likely as the hosts controlled their latest encounter, although City did have an early scare when Harry Kane curled a free-kick against the top of the post.
They took control after Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg brought down Gundogan for a penalty midway through the first half. Rodri’s effort from the spot crept in despite Hugo Lloris getting a hand to it.
Gunodgan added a second soon after the break and then scored a sublime third on 66 minutes by latching onto a long pass from Ederson and cleverly wrong-footing Davinson Sanchez to tuck away.
That confirmed Spurs’ fourth defeat in five Premier League outings. The reversal in fortunes of the two clubs since that meeting last autumn – when Spurs went top and City were left in 13th – has been marked.
Amid the disappointing results, Jose Mourinho’s style of football and the team’s defensive frailties continue to be highlighted by critics, while uncertainty remains over the status of Gareth Bale and Dele Alli, who appeared as second-half substitutes.
“We had a gameplan,” defender Japhet Tanganga, who was recalled for his first Premier League appearance of the season, told Spurs TV. “We knew City were in form and a dangerous team.
“We defended well but the penalty changed the whole game. If Harry’s free-kick goes in it changes the momentum.
“But second half they just showed their quality and once they got the second goal I think their confidence was high and you could see they were the better team (on this occasion).
“I’m happy to make my Premier League ‘debut’ this season but we need to look back as team and see where we can go and do better. We move on to the next one on Thursday.”