Tuesday, May 23, 2017

City hero De Bruyne revels in striking surprise

SoccerNews in UEFA Champions League 22 Oct 2015

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Kevin De Bruyne conceded he was slightly surprised to take up the central attacking role from which he fired Manchester City to a 2-1 Champions League win over Sevilla.

The Group D tie was all square in the 76th minute when City manager Manuel Pellegrini replaced Wilfried Bony – the only recognised striker in his injury-hit squad – with defensive midfielder Fernando.

Belgium international De Bruyne, adept across the attacking midfield positions, was pushed forward as a result to spearhead the home attack at the Etihad Stadium.

Pellegrini’s unlikely switch paid dividends as the former Wolfsburg star cut inside on the end of Yaya Toure’s pass to coolly steer home a left-foot stoppage-time winner – his fifth goal in seven starts for the Premier League leaders.

“I never played so much in my life as a striker to be honest,” De Bruyne said afterwards.

“Obviously we don’t have so many strikers at the moment and if the manager asks me to play there I will try.

“I’m a different type of a player – [operating] in the space and these type of things. Maybe the manager thought that could cause a little bit of trouble for them.”

During his brief City career, De Bruyne has operated on both flanks and as a number 10.

The 24-year-old views such versatility as a plus and points out that it has long been a feature of his career.

“Even when I was on loan at [Werder] Bremen [from Chelsea] I played in six different position,” De Bruyne said.

“I think it is more of an advantage for me than a disadvantage. You can be shuffled around but it’s fine.”

Regardless of which position he lines up in against Manchester United in Sunday’s derby, De Bruyne does not believe his midweek heroics will have any bearing on the much-anticipated Old Trafford showdown.

“[The impact will be] nothing – it’s a totally different league,” he added.

“Every game we play, the next game is a different league and a different tension to the league.

“Obviously we feel good. In the last games we did OK so hopefully we can do the same on Sunday.”

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