Ilkay Gundogan claimed Manchester City have found their “rhythm” after they stormed top in ominous fashion.
Gundogan stuck twice in the first half as Pep Guardiola’s men smashed lowly West Brom with a scintillating display.
It was City’s 11th straight win in all competitions and their seventh in a row in the Premier League.
Victory knocked neighbours Manchester United off the top but the Old Trafford club can regain first place on Wednesday night if they beat Sheffield United.
Gundogan, who was pushed upfront, now has seven goals in eight League games to spearhead City without the absent star duo of Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne.
Gundogan said: “Everyone is doing well – especially the last few weeks.
“We need this rhythm and qualities to maintain our level and then we are going to get even more wins.
“We all try our best.
“It doesn’t matter who is playing.
“Kevin is a big miss for us for the next few games but we have players who will get more game time over the next few weeks.
“We need everyone and we need to keep going.”
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Gundogan notched either side of a controversial long-range effort by Joao Cancelo.
Cancelo’s effort stood despite some West Brom players stopping when assistant Sian Massey raised her flag but the whistle wasn’t blown and VAR gave it.
Riyah Mahrez made it 4-0 just before the break and then turned provider with a brilliant assist for Raheem Sterling to grab his ninth of the season in the second half.
Gundogan impressed wearing the No.8, the same number as the late Colin Bell who was laid to rest earlier in the day.
“I feel proud to wear his number and I try to represent it as well as possible,” added Gundogan.
Boss Guardiola saw his side go top for the first time this season but responded: “The last thing i am thinking about is the table.
“Today just finished the first round and we have still 19 games left.
“It is an incredible marathon, we are going to drop points and lose games.
“It is important to be calm, like we were when we were 12th in the table, understand why we didn’t win that game and immediately win the next one.
“This is all i am concerned about right now.”
West Brom stay 19th and are the first top-flight side since 1978 to concede three goals or more in five consecutive home games.