Sergio Aguero feels knee surgery has given him a fitness boost that allows him to carry out Pep Guardiola's pressing instructions more thoroughly.
Aguero, Manchester City's record goalscorer, has not always seemed to have the best relationship with Guardiola, who has preferred Gabriel Jesus at times throughout his spell in charge.
But the striker has started all 12 Premier League games this term compared to Jesus' two, scoring eight goals - including his 150th in the competition - to lead the race for the Golden Boot.
And Aguero credits the operation he had prior to the World Cup as a factor in making him sharper and more able to follow Guardiola's tactical plan.
"It all comes from my discomfort in my knee. I had been suffering for a long time and had a lot of medical treatment with the physio here at the club," Aguero told Sky Sports.
"I had some discomfort, and then at the end of last season I decided to go for surgery before the World Cup. Since then, I feel great, I don't feel pain at all, and that's probably why I'm enjoying it more and feeling fitter.
"Luckily I am doing well and Pep is happy. I try to do the things he wants and help the team. I'm obviously the first guy who starts the pressing and [the knee surgery] is why I can do it more often."
It fills us with pride to win the derby with team work and our supporters crowding the stadium. Let's celebrate! (And while my hair may be gray now, Manchester is blue ) C’mon City! pic.twitter.com/kV6RWDxgVh— Sergio Kun Aguero (@aguerosergiokun) November 11, 2018
City have made a brilliant start to their title defence, last term having finished 19 points clear of Manchester United, who were the last team to retain the Premier League in 2008-09.
Guardiola's side are two points clear of Liverpool ahead of Saturday's trip to West Ham, while Chelsea also remain unbeaten in Maurizio Sarri's maiden campaign.
"It's not easy to win the Premier League again, to do it back to back, but in the dressing room I see the same energy, the same attitude as last season in my team-mates, and that makes me feel confident," said Aguero, who was part of City teams who ceded the title after triumphs in 2011-12 and 2013-14.
"So, if we keep doing the same things, keeping focus, I think we have a big chance to win it back-to-back.
"We know our style of play, how to press, the build-up and all of the movements because we have been playing together for a long time, and we have almost the same players as last season.
"It's going to depend on us and, if we manage to keep our focus on the goal, we can make it happen."