Ahead of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final, he continues Sky SportsKevin De Bruyne reveals how Manchester City is getting closer to the game.
Pep Guardiola’s team have won the competition in the past two seasons and are aiming for a third consecutive title when they face Aston Villa at Wembley this weekend.
It is one of four competitions that City could still win – including the Premier League – and De Bruyne says that the team will do everything they can to win in all of them, starting with the Carabao Cup final.
She said Sky Sports’ Laura Woods: “This club takes every competition seriously. No matter what competition we play, we play to win it and we have shown that whoever plays in this competition, new players and perhaps players who play a little less, are there to win the game. The guys have stepped up and done the job brilliantly. They are likely to have a really good team of 25 players.
“It’s the first trophy you can win and it’s a trophy. I know people say it’s the smallest competition but at least if you don’t win anything else, you’ve won something. There are many players who play a lot of games in their career and they didn’t win a competition, not even the Carabao Cup.
“You have to respect every competition because we play in big games and sometimes against teams from the lower leagues but also in this case, we demonstrate the dedication to do what we have to do as professionals and we show that we will do everything to win this cup.
“The start will be very tight. I don’t think they will open much and play the game we want to play, but I think they played with five players behind and three midfielders last time and we started the game and it played really well.
“I think after 25 minutes, it was 3-0 [Man City beat Aston Villa 6-1 in the Premier League earlier this season] so you know they have to open the game and therefore it becomes easier to play it. They will hope to hold it tight, maybe to have a goal here and there, but I don’t think it will be an open game at the beginning. “
‘It looks like the first season under Pep’
By City’s high standards, it was a disappointing season nationally – particularly in the Premier League – and De Bruyne thought about what the problems might be.
He said: “We are doing well, but we have lost too many points. It seems a bit like the first season with Pep in which we played football, but we made too many mistakes.
“There are games in which you think you have full control and then in the last five or 10 minutes, we practically gave it up and in this period when Liverpool don’t lose points, every point you drop is too much. Even if we did better, I think the way Liverpool will perform this year and win almost everything, they deserve to win and be champions again.
“I don’t think Liverpool is frustrated because you just have to applaud what they’re doing. It’s also the same as what we’ve had in the past two years – if you have a lot of points and you win a lot of games, there is not much that the opposition I can do and I know they will only control what they do themselves.
“The only frustration we’ve had is making too many mistakes and it has nothing to do with them [Liverpool], it is more than we know if we have not made these mistakes [the league] would be closer. We also accept it because you know how hard you have to work to be so good and there is a lot of respect on both sides. If they win it this way, that’s how it should be.
“I always want to win everything. We know that the championship is over, but I would say to win everything else. I know it’s hard work, but that’s what we want to do and that’s what the goals are. At the beginning of the season, we don’t say “We want to win the championship and all the rest, we’ll see”, we want to win all four. We still have the possibility of making three, so if that were the case, then it will be quite surprising “.
Future winner of the Ballon d’Or?
De Bruyne is regularly advertised as one of the best players in the Premier League and has been challenged by Pep Guardiola to become one of the best five players in the world.
Do you think you are there?
“Probably not too far away,” thinks De Bruyne. “But who am I to decide? I just try to be the best I can be. I have played well in recent years and also last season, I have had many injuries, but the times I have been to I have done well, also in Germany , I had good years and I felt happy, but who decides it [the best footballers], I don’t know, but I think I’m close enough.
At Villa vs Man City
March 1, 2020, 3:30 pm
“It helps [being nominated for the Ballon d’Or]but first and foremost is the team’s performance. I know that if the team performs well and I perform with them, I will get recognition. In recent years, I’ve been vying for the top 30 in the world and it’s nice because you work very hard in your profession and being recognized as good at what you do is always nice to hear it.
“It gives me the motivation to stay there and be on top for as long as possible because [playing] football is for a short period of time and i just want to be the best version of what i can be. What it is, I don’t know, but every year is different and this year has gone really well for me.
“I think I’m more of a complete footballer than I was a few years ago. I’ve had good years in my career, but I think both sides of the ball mentally lead a team, now I’m better than I’ve been two or three years I think I am doing very well and I feel comfortable and happy with the way I perform. “
Taking the captain’s armband
De Bruyne has taken on the role of captain a few times this season with Vincent Kompany leaving in the summer and in the absence of David Silva and Fernandinho.
The Belgian international had enjoyed taking on more responsibilities and would have accepted the full-time role if offered.
He said, “I think I’m a little more like David [Silva]. I don’t know how Vinny [Kompany] it was seven or eight years ago when he took the armband and there are many things you have to do sometimes as a captain. You also grow in that role, but I’ve always been the player who tried to set an example on the field. I’m not someone who always talks, but if something needs to be said, I’ll say it for the benefit of the team or when I think it’s the right time.
“It’s something I grew up in because two or three years ago, Pep took me to his office and told me I had to take on more responsibility and took me to the five captains of the team. I arrived five to three now and he team vote, I trust them and try to give a good example.
“It makes you recognize different things about football. It is not only on the field, it is also the things on the side – mentally and physically – that you learn and can only help you in further things in life.
“If I had the opportunity [to be the full-time Man City captain]I wouldn’t say no but I think everything goes at the right time. With Fernandinho and David present, even Aguero, if it were possible, I will understand why they have been here for so long and have given the example to many players and even myself to follow them.
“Being around them in a different way now out of football is important to grow and if I ever had the opportunity, I would say yes.”
Watch the Carabao Cup final live on Sky Sports
Aston Villa vs Manchester City is live on Sky Sports Football from 15:30 on Sunday; kick-off 16.30. You can watch the game clips in the live games blog on the site Sky Sports website and app.
The highlights will also be published in the Sky Sports digital platforms e Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.
Soccer Saturday Super 6
FREE GAME: don’t miss your chance to win £ 250k for free on Saturday. Registration before 15:00.