Kevin De Bruyne claims he will not return to his best form this season after struggling with a succession of injuries.
The Belgium midfielder was instrumental as Manchester City romped to the Premier League title last season.
The 27-year-old has battled ligament and thigh issues in 2018-19, causing him to miss large spells in the first half of the campaign, as well as much of the last month.
Despite those regular absences, City remain firmly in contention to retain their crown, and Pep Guardiola’s side could yet claim an unprecedented quadruple.
De Bruyne, though, has accepted his physical limitations and is seeking to contribute in any manner he can during the final weeks of the campaign.
Referring to the 2-0 win over Cardiff on Wednesday, he said: “I had a good performance but last year I could do it every three days for almost 60 or 70 games. I can’t reach that tally anymore.
“It’s only if everything goes right – like 13 or 14 games [in succession]. I [will] give everything I have and hopefully in the end we can lift a few titles.
“I feel sometimes my season [has] had double the length of other players because every time [with an injury] you need to be in, you need to make almost double the hours. You never have a day off because you need to work on your recovery. It’s more draining than to play in the end.
“A lot of the time you’re alone, but you have to do it. I did it and I’m happy I’m back. I’ve been injured and have had to come back three or four times now.”
— Kevin De Bruyne (@DeBruyneKev) April 5, 2019
Speaking ahead of the FA Cup semi-final against Brighton, De Bruyne was asked if he could reach top form again this season, replying: “No, probably not – not compared with last year.
“I don’t know what my level is going to be, but I don’t really care. Now it’s the business end and I just need to do what I can to help the team win games.
“If that means playing five games or 10 games, I’ll take it. It’s been that kind of season.”
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