Sport Soccer

Thursday 22 March 2018

Nothing needs to change at Manchester City, insists Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne believes Manchester City can turn the tables on Barcelona next time
Kevin De Bruyne believes Manchester City can turn the tables on Barcelona next time

Kevin De Bruyne insists Manchester City have no reason to change anything after their Barcelona mauling.

The Belgium playmaker even believes City can respond to the 4-0 loss by beating the Spanish champions when the sides meet again in the Champions League in a fortnight.

City's belief in playing out from the back via the goalkeeper backfired spectacularly at the Nou Camp as Claudio Bravo was sent off for handball after coming out of his area and losing possession.

Yet until that pivotal moment in the 53rd minute, City had been holding their own and were trailing only 1-0, and De Bruyne retains full belief in manager Pep Guardiola's tactics.

He said: "Obviously if you lose 4-0 it's bad, but I think the way we want to play is the good way. Even a good team like Barcelona didn't have it as easy as people thought.

"I think it's the right way. We didn't play badly. We could have scored goals, we had almost the same amount of possession and almost the same amount of goalscoring opportunities.

"We made mistakes but, okay, it happens. In the end they scored four. It looks bad but I don't think we should feel bad.

"People can say whatever they want, this is the way we need to play and we will win a lot of games like this."

City have now gone four games without a win in all competitions after winning their previous 10 at the start of the season.

De Bruyne sees no reason for alarm.

Asked if City could turn the tables on Barca at the Etihad Stadium, he said: "Yes, why not?

"Obviously people are going to say we're never going to win but I don't care what people say. We'll just do the same and I'm sure we'll be ready for this game."

De Bruyne was deployed a 'false nine' after Guardiola made the surprising decision to leave top scorer Sergio Aguero on the bench in favour of packing the midfield.

That plan unravelled after Bravo's dismissal as Lionel Messi completed the 37th hat-trick of his Barca career and Neymar added the fourth goal.

Of his role, De Bruyne said: "I'm not used to playing it. I did it a couple of times (previously).

"Obviously it's not my best position but I'll do what the coach asks me to do and do my job."

While the issues concerning Aguero and Bravo commanded the City-focused headlines on Wednesday, the absence of captain Vincent Kompany received relatively little attention.

Kompany, after recovering from his recent groin problem sufficiently to play as a substitute against Everton on Saturday, travelled to Barcelona but did not make the matchday squad.

The defensive options on the bench were both full-backs in Gael Clichy - who replaced the injured Pablo Zabaleta in the second half - and 19-year-old Pablo Maffeo.

"That's Pep's choice. He must have had his reasons," said De Bruyne on the matter.

Meanwhile, reports have claimed Inter Milan had representatives at the game monitoring Zabaleta ahead of a potential January bid for the Argentinian.

Press Association

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