Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has claimed that, despite a few hiccups, City are playing better football than ever before.
While De Bruyne is frustrated with where he and his teammates currently find themselves in the rankings, the Belgian believes City are on their way to something special.
He said: “We just have a very different approach, playing style than we had last year. I think we’re playing much better football but we have maybe had some growing pains and made a few mistakes that in the end cost us a few points but we’re playing better.
“The job we’re doing is really good and we have more points than last year so I think in general we’re doing a better job. I think the team is very good together and the way we’re evolving as a team is in the right direction.
“But we’ve made a few mistakes, had some growing pains and that’s cost us points but if you see the games we should have won – it’s always only a should have obviously – then we’re closer to Chelsea. But it’s stupid to talk about these things that should happen. Ifs don’t exist in life.”
The form of the likes of youngsters Sane, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling and John Stones has been a major positive for City throughout the campaign. De Bruyne, still just 25 himself, is excited to be part of City’s new generation.
“I think this team can get a lot better. A lot of players, especially the young guys who have just come in, they have limits that are probably unreachable for a lot of players. They’re so young, just 20, 21 years old and what they’re doing already now is unbelievable,” he said.
“Imagine if they continue to work hard and they achieve what they can do in three or four years. You cannot imagine. Everyone is thinking about now and for these young players it’s not easy to do everything they do on a regular basis every three days.”
Not only has Pep Guardiola introduced several fresh faces to the Premier League, he is also attempting to implement a refreshing brand of football.
The Catalan coach is asking his side to build from the back in a controlled manner and while this may have led some to accuse Guardiola of choosing style over substance, De Bruyne knows that is not the case.
“He likes to play beautiful football, that’s no mistake. But it’s not that he’s stubborn or something, he just tries to way the way he always played with his teams.
“He’s convinced this is the right way for City to play so I think people are probably harsh on him because his track record is unbelievable. I don’t think he’s trying to change anything in England, he’s just trying to do everything that’s possible to win us games, titles.”
Guardiola’s plans have also seen a change of role for De Bruyne, who has spent much of the season operating in a central midfield role alongside fellow creative influence David Silva.
While that move has seen the Belgian score four goals in comparison to last season’s seven in the Premier League, he has racked up two more assists than he managed during the previous campaign. De Bruyne, however, is less interested in the statistics and more on his influence on the team as a unit.
“I’ve been in one way more happy than I was last year when everyone was talking about me. I think the things I’m doing this year are more collective, while probably last year individually was maybe better for me.
“But I have a different role now, playing deeper than last year so I know people are comparing stats and goals but I think I’m doing a better job than I did last year.”
The Blues’ best chance of silverware this season may well be in the FA Cup – a semi-final with Arsenal looms – but De Bruyne is refusing to give up on the Premier League title.
He said: “We just have to try to win our games and in the end we will see what happens. Tomorrow we will play Chelsea and try to win the game.
“It doesn’t mean we’re going to get the title but are still aiming for the first three spots and if Chelsea make a mistake and we can do something afterwards we will see. That’s what we’re trying but it’s going to be very difficult.”
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