Pep Guardiola has brushed off talk of his Manchester City side returning to the top of the Premier League as they prepare to host struggling Everton.
The champions can take over at the summit – for a few hours at least – if they beat the Toffees in their Saturday lunchtime encounter at the Etihad Stadium.
Yet after having difficulties against the Merseysiders in the past – Everton claimed a 1-1 draw in Manchester last season – the City manager is taking nothing for granted.
Guardiola said: “We have to continue like we have done for many years. I said when our results were not good that our level was more than decent, we were playing good.
“It has been similar all season, but tomorrow we wake up and go direct to play a football game at 12.30, so we have to be ready.
“Since arriving, Everton always took results here. I don’t know why – maybe because they are good. So we have to be ready.
“Hopefully it’s going to go well, but last season we could not win.”
Everton have not won in the Premier League since mid-December and, having been deducted 10 points for breaching financial regulations, head to the Etihad in the relegation zone.
City were charged with 115 breaches of regulations 12 months ago, but their case is still to be heard.
Guardiola did not want to discuss this matter as he held his pre-match press conference on Friday.
The Spaniard said: “I know my opinion about that. I have spoken many times. I don’t have anything else to add. We wait.”
City danger men Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne are set to start their first home game together this season.
Guardiola has previously said he does not necessarily think City will play any better with the pair back in tandem but is convinced they will win more matches.
He said: “It’s simple. They are players that win games by themselves.
“When one player scores 60 goals, it helps you to win games. When you play with a player that makes a thousand million assists and goals, it helps you to win games.
“You don’t have to study at Harvard or Yale to understand that.”