Sunday 22 September 2019

De Bruyne: Injuries were accidents, not down to fatigue

Kevin De Bruyne has made just five appearances for City this season. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Kevin De Bruyne has made just five appearances for City this season. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

John Percy

Kevin De Bruyne is unsure whether his long injury lay-off will keep him fresh during the second half of Manchester City's season but believes he had enough rest during the summer.

De Bruyne has made just five appearances for City this season after suffering two separate knee ligament injuries - one in each knee - since August.

The Belgian returned at the weekend, making a 15-minute cameo in the 3-1 victory over Everton, and is expected to play in tonight's League Cup quarter-final at Leicester City.

City manager Pep Guardiola said last week that De Bruyne had ended a gruelling 2017-18 campaign "exhausted" after reaching the World Cup semi-finals with Belgium.

In total, De Bruyne clocked up 5,448 minutes on the pitch between the start of last season and the end of Belgium's run in Russia.

Guardiola suggested that the enforced spell on the sidelines may have done De Bruyne some good, though the player himself had his doubts on that.

"Maybe, but I'm not sure I agree with that," De Bruyne said. "I played the most of anyone last year, in the whole world. And I played the World Cup without a problem.

"I think the most important thing is having a summer break. If you have that you can feel OK but there is always a time in someone's career where you feel a bit less.

"But I felt all right, it was just a shame that when I came back after one week I was out for two-and-a-half months. I was happy to come back and worked really hard but after three games it happened again. So I think it's part of your career and in the end it's just the way it is."

De Bruyne conceded that the three-week break he enjoyed during the summer was "short", though he believes it was enough to for him to feel refreshed and re-energised.

"I wasn't exhausted," he insisted. "I think in general people need a good summer break, sometimes we play for 11-and-a-half months at a time and there is not enough time to rest.

"I had a rest of about three weeks - after 12 months of playing. Is that short? Probably, yes. But I felt OK to come back."

De Bruyne added: "There's nothing I can do. It was two accidents. I'm happy with my body because I know I have no problems with muscles."

Though he was the outstanding player in their title-winning campaign, City can hardly claim to have missed De Bruyne this season, even if they trail Liverpool in the Premier League table.

City's start is still the fifth-best in Premier League history, with Guardiola's side collecting 38 points from their first 17 games and qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages as group stage winners.

With FA Cup participation to come and the League Cup to defend, City remain in with a chance of a historic quadruple and De Bruyne believes the sqaud's strength in depth gives them every hope of success.

"That's why you invest in the team and put all that money in to have a full squad," he said. "The investment is the beginning. They did really smartly by buying young players who can get better.

"We've a squad of 21 or 22 players and it doesn't matter who plays - they have regular games in the team. We are fully there for the four trophies." (© Independent News Service)

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