Kevin De Bruyne is enjoying his flourishing on-field relationship with Raheem Sterling ahead of Manchester City’s Champions League Group D meeting with Sevilla.
De Bruyne and Sterling were City’s two marquee close-season signings, with the Belgium international’s purchase from Wolfsburg quickly surpassing what was a club-record outlay when the England forward swapped Anfield for the Etihad Stadium.
Four goals in his first six senior starts for City has quickly established De Bruyne as a favourite with the club’s supporters, while Sterling struck a maiden senior hat-trick in the 5-1 win over AFC Bournemouth on Saturday.
Striker Wilfried Bony helped himself to a brace, with Sterling playing behind him and De Bruyne supplying the ammunition from a wide-left attacking position.
It is a forward line Manuel Pellegrini might be forced to stick with against Sevilla after he revealed Samir Nasri suffered a hamstring problem against Bournemouth to join Sergio Aguero (hamstring) and David Silva (ankle) on the sidelines.
“I was on the left and it was more like a 4-4-2,” De Bruyne told reporters. “Raheem is very dangerous when he plays where he did.
“Maybe we don’t have the experience like the others. But we play really well together and the more games we get, the better we will do.
“Raheem is really good. He’s only 20 years old so there’s a lot more to come. He likes to run deep and that makes it easier to find him, I’ll try to play that ball.
“Sometimes it will work well, like it did [against Bournemouth], and other times maybe he will not arrive. But if he makes runs like that it’s good for me and if a player has pace like that, it’s always an advantage.”
Along with Silva, Aguero and Nasri, City are also set to be without Fabian Delph (hamstring) and recognised left-backs Aleksandar Kolarov (thigh) and Gael Clichy (ankle) against Sevilla.
Nevertheless, De Bruyne does not believe any kind of casualty list can act as an excuse for a club of City’s vast resources.
“It’s always a blow when you lose players of that quality,” De Bruyne added.
“But we need to maintain this level and try to win without them.
“It’s not an excuse when we lose to say it was because they were not fit. If you want to win titles you need to get on and do it with the players you have, rather than worrying about the ones who are not fit. So we have to try to win these games without them.”
Sevilla and City have three points each going into the game, both teams having lost to Juventus and beaten Borussia Monchengladbach from two matches played apiece.
The visitors will run the rule over striker Fernando Llorente (adductor) and midfielder Luismi (metatarsal) before the match, which comes too soon for Gael Kakuta, Sergio Escudero (both muscle injuries) and Daniel Carrico (hamstring).
City winger Jesus Navas, who twice won the UEFA Cup during a decade with Sevilla between 2003 and 2013, is set to face his hometown club for the first time since moving to the Premier League.