Gündoğan says recovery from knee injury has been mentally tough
Recovering from another major injury has been as much a mental challenge for İlkay Gündoğan as physical.
The midfielder made just 15 appearances in his debut season at Manchester City before tearing knee ligaments in December and undergoing surgery.
It was the latest setback for the German, who also had long spells on the sidelines during his time at previous club Borussia Dortmund and missed both the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016.
"It is heavy mentally to accept that," Gündoğan told the BBC on City's pre-season tour of the United States.
"It is really hard always to fall and fight your way back. You feel good and feel ready, then you get the next kick."
Gündoğan won't be ready when City kick off their Premier League season at Brighton on August 12 but he knows his return is nearing.
"The worst part is behind me now," the 26-year-old said. "I want to feel ready when I am fully back.
"I want to feel safe and confident. I don't mind if it is two weeks or six."
After finishing third in his first season as manager, Pep Guardiola has spent heavily this summer to bring in five new players at a cost of more than 200 million pounds (263 million dollars).
That's made City the title favourites and Gündoğan is confident they can deliver.
"Optimism for the season is big," he said. "It is huge, definitely.
"We felt that last year as well but it was a completely new experience for all of us.
"We know the Premier League a bit more now and can't wait for the season to start."