KEVIN DE BRUYNE is relishing Manchester City’s title race, even though they are playing catch-up to Liverpool.
City finished 19 points clear at the top last season, clinching the Premier League crown with five games to spare, but the Belgian admits this season’s closely fought battle is giving him more of a buzz.
Midfielder De Bruyne made his first start since Boxing Day as Sunday’s 3-0 victory at Huddersfield, City’s fourth successive win in the Premier League, saw Pep Guardiola’s men trim Liverpool’s lead at the top from seven points to four. ‘There’s two teams and even Tottenham, who have so many points at this stage of the season,’ said De Bruyne.
‘It’s quite remarkable because in a lot of seasons you would already be ten or 12 points ahead, but this season it’s tight and I like it. I like it to be competitive. In the end that’s what it’s all about.’
Danilo, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane were on target for City at the bottom-of-the-table Terriers as De Bruyne made just his eighth league appearance this term due to ligament injuries in both his left then right knee. Guardiola has taken a cautious approach with the Belgium international, a key figure both for City’s champions last season and his country as they reached the World Cup semi-finals.
‘I’m getting better, obviously,’ added De Bruyne. ‘You need the run of games where you play a lot because I’m not used to playing every three days.
‘But I’m getting there. I’m happy with the way I’m performing. It’s not the same like it was last year, but that’s what you can expect.
‘I’ve been out since the World Cup and to come back twice is mentally hard, but I’m happy to be here to play football again.’