Kevin De Bruyne believes Pep Guardiola’s signings have rejuvenated a Manchester City team in need of a revamp.
De Bruyne impressed during his debut season at the Etihad Stadium last season, with 16 goals and 14 assists across all competitions for the League Cup winners, but City limped to a fourth-place finish in the Premier League as Manuel Pellegrini’s tenure ended in underwhelming fashion.
City face rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday, their neighbours also embarking on a new era under Jose Mourinho and having won each of their league games so far.
Guardiola will be without suspended top scorer Sergio Aguero, but could hand a debut to Germany international Leroy Sane, while fellow close-season recruit Nolito already has three City goals to his name having impressed alongside Premier League Player of the Month Raheem Sterling.
Belgium star De Bruyne told reporters: “Last year I felt really young in the team because I came from a team where I was one of the more experienced guys even though I was only 24 – but there’s a new generation coming in and I’m getting to the second stage of my professional career.
“The guys who have come in have a lot of pace – they are electric and I think that’s something we needed in addition to last year.
“It’s a blow to lose our top scorer, but on the other hand a player will come in for him and they will be ready to do a good job.
“I think everybody is ready. We have a big, strong team. This is the way it goes in football – yellow cards, red cards, suspensions.
“There’s still plenty of games after this one so even if you lose you can make it up later.”
De Bruyne, who is yet to get on the scoresheet this season after being deployed in a slightly deeper central midfield role by Guardiola, is keen for City to impose their high-pressing, passing style on formidable opponents.
“It’s been a good start to the season,” he added. “We’re trying to play good, positive football and we’ve won five out of five [including the two-legged Champions League play-off win over Steaua Bucharest], so hopefully we can continue to do the same.
“United are doing well also. They’ve started the way we’ve started, with nine points, so they’re doing very well and I think they’ll be a force to be reckoned with this season.
“This game isn’t going to be easy but, in the end, we have to just play the way we play and dominate the game in our style.”