After Manchester United’s derby thrashing, Kevin De Bruyne mocked them, alleging they had the stamina to compete with Pep Guardiola’s team.
Man City won emphatically 4-1, with De Bruyne scoring two and setting up another as the Blues moved six points clear of Liverpool, who have a game in hand.
Since taking over, interim United manager Ralf Rangnick has tried to establish a high-pressing style similar to Pep Guardiola’s at City and Jurgen Klopp’s at Liverpool.
In a harsh evaluation of United’s current roster, De Bruyne claimed that their players lack the needed stamina and physical levels to sustain such an approach for 90 minutes.
“When you play a pressing style, it’s difficult to adjust, so maybe they did give up a little,” De Bruyne explained.
“That’s quite difficult to accomplish it as a team for 90 minutes.”
“I was watching [from the bench] for the last 10 minutes, and it seemed like they were a little bit out, so the spaces grew a little bit greater.”
“I wouldn’t say they gave up — that’s a difficult statement to make.
“It may have appeared to be easy, but it’s a lot of labor.”
“United set up more pressing, they did it differently, but we found the spaces in the second half.” We learned from our first-half blunders.”
The encounter between City and Liverpool on April 10 at the Etihad Stadium is shaping up to be a title decider, with the winner in pole position to be champions.
“It may be,” De Bruyne remarked, “but it’s so far away.” “There are a lot of significant games between now and then.”
“A lot can happen in the time between now and then.” We can either win or lose games.
“So I’m not necessarily keeping an eye on that game right now. We encourage each other to be the finest versions of ourselves.
“We can only attempt to win every game as a team and as individuals. We’re hoping to win in the end, but there’s still a long way to go.”