Kyle Walker has warned Manchester City’s rivals that the record-breaking champions are determined to pass last season’s tally of 100 Premier League points.
City romped to the Premier League title by a 19-point margin, setting numerous records along the way, including that tally of 100. City’s title defence begins at Arsenal on Sunday, with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling due to return and David Silva also to come in.
And Pep Guardiola’s appetite for success is undimmed and so too, it seems, is his players’, with Walker outlining the ambition for the forthcoming campaign.
“What we achieved was incredible,” said Walker, who moved from Tottenham 12 months ago.
My first year there was incredible. You couldn’t write it. To achieve the 100 points, how we did it in the last game.
“We set the bar last year. We set it so high that we have to try to raise it. Everyone in that dressing room is not going to settle for anything less this year and we want to pick up more trophies.
“I know the gaffer wants to win everything he possibly can and so do his players. We need to drive each other on. It’s up to us to achieve those dreams.
“We achieved big things, but we can’t stop there. We have to keep going and trying to improve, that’s individually and collectively.”
It appears ominous for the rest of the Premier League playing catch-up, while the Champions League will again be a target.
There was an obvious gulf between City and Chelsea in Sunday’s Community Shield, decided by two Sergio Aguero goals. Walker knows City’s rivals will be bidding to dethrone them as Guardiola’s men seek to become the first side to successfully defend the Premier League title in 10 years.
“When you are the top the only way is down and we don’t want to go down,” Walker said.
Intense internal competition and fresh faces mean everyone is kept on their toes. Riyad Mahrez made his City debut at Wembley and 18-year-old Phil Foden impressed.
Much is expected of Foden, but Walker believes it would be too soon to promote the midfielder into the England squad.
“I believe so, that’s just my opinion,” Walker added. “I’m not the manager, the manager picks the team.
I think he needs to come through and be nurtured the right way. We have seen a lot of people being given the opportunity too early, and it kinds of swallows them up.
“So I think let’s just let him keep playing football and leave it up to the other people who have got to make those decisions.”
Ilkay Gundogan believes City have hit the ground running ahead of the new season.
“I wouldn’t say that it was necessary to give us confidence, but the first weeks when the season starts, the important games start, you never really know what to expect.
“You don’t really know 100% on which level you are.
“It was a great test for us, a last test before the Premier League season. At the end we feel ready right now and we can’t wait for the season to start.”