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De Bruyne: Forget Barca and focus on Boro

BREAK AWAY: De Bruyne moves past Andre Gomes in the midfield

BREAK AWAY: De Bruyne moves past Andre Gomes in the midfield

Kevin De Bruyne has urged caution ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Middlesbrough.

The Belgian play-maker believes he and his team-mates need to refocus quickly if they are to consolidate top spot in the Premier League and avoid the ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’ syndrome.

Quoted on Reuters, he said: ‘Obviously everyone will talk about it because it was Barcelona, but if you lose at the weekend it doesn’t matter what happened in the Champions League.

‘We have to do the same as we did in these two games and try to win against Middlesbrough to go into the international break with a good series and try to maintain top spot in the league.

‘It is very difficult. Everybody will give everything they have got against us. We have to do what we know how to do. The game against Middlesbrough is going to be another tough test.’

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Meanwhile team-mate Ilkay Gundogan believes the Blues should have won more emphatically against Barcelona on Tuesday evening.

City created numerous chances and, on another night, the margin against the Catalans could have been even greater.

Quoted in the Daily Mail, Gundogan said: ‘It was definitely a big win for us. For me, what was important was our performance in the second half after we equalised before half-time.

'We did a very good job, we controlled Barcelona and had a few more chances to score goals. If we had taken them, maybe we could have won 4-1 or 5-1.

ILKAY: 'We should have scored more'

'The performance was great, we can enjoy it now and be really happy. I hope we can take confidence from the spirit we showed.'

Raheem Sterling’s interview on the BBC’s Premier League Show has been widely quoted this morning, with the City winger revealing why he decide to move away from Liverpool last year.

Said Sterling: ‘I remember saying to my agent; by the time I’m 22, if I haven’t won anything at that time and if I’m not playing in the biggest competitions then I really need to assess my options.

‘You want to make sure you are playing at the highest level and the best level."

‘I’ve always loved Liverpool and they are a massive team and a great team that helped my development.

‘I had no big issues there at all, with the fans or anything like that so it wasn’t really the way I would have liked to have gone.’

Finally, an interesting feature in the Independent, who look at the Spanish media’s post-match inquest after the Barcelona through different eyes.

Ian Herbert writes: “The Spanish contingent putting the questions to Barcelona manager Luis Enrique at his press conference late on Tuesday night were struggling to comprehend what had happened to the team they referred to as 'we.'

'Was it because Gerard Pique was missing?' 'Were we over-confident after taking a lead?' Enrique, who has something of the Pep Guardiola about him, described things as he saw them and would not take refuge in such excuses.

‘If you lose, it's not because of the players who are not there,’ he said, with mounting exasperation. ‘I've not got an explanation. This is the game where facts change things. Sometimes there are (two teams operating at) different levels. Sometimes it's not tactical. I could tell you something different but that's not my way…’

“It would have been worth Guardiola having some of his players in the packed press room to hear this external assessment of their performance, because where Europe is concerned there is that perennial sense that they and their supporters don't really believe it themselves.

“Manchester City broke a cycle of inferiority with a signature performance on Tuesday night, steeling themselves against the setback of Lionel Messi's opening goal to end the evening running one of the world's best sides asunder from every point across their retreating backline.

“It was a demonstration that City can think of themselves as a side in the bracket of Barcelona or Real Madrid.”

More gossip, opinion and rumours tomorrow…

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