De Bruyne determined to end season on high with FA Cup success

Kevin De Bruyne feels no sympathy for Liverpool after Manchester City narrowly pipped them to the Premier League title.

City won their last 14 games to beat the Reds by a single point in a compelling and high-quality title race.

Liverpool’s 97-point tally was the third-highest ever achieved in the competition but, while City’s Belgian playmaker acknowledges their effort, he cannot feel sorry for them.

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De Bruyne said: “It’s a remarkable effort, but it means that we were just better than them in the end.

“I don’t feel sorry for them because I don’t think they’d feel sorry for us. I don’t think anybody felt sorry about the way we went out of the Champions League. You take it.

“I know how they feel because you’re going to feel disappointed. We’d feel the same if it happened to us.

“But we’re still competitors. It’s been a great battle. I can understand the feelings they have but to feel sorry for them is maybe going a little too far.”

For all City’s success this season, it has been a frustrating campaign for De Bruyne – their player of the season last year – due to a succession of injuries.

The 27-year-old featured just 18 times in the Premier League largely due to two separate knee injuries and a number of other problems.

He returned from his latest setback to feature off the bench as City won the title at Brighton last weekend. He now wants to end on a glorious high by helping them complete the treble in the FA Cup final against Watford on Saturday.

De Bruyne said: “It makes up for it in a way but obviously it’s not been the most fun season.

“It’s been one of those years where I started really badly with two big injuries. I came back in the right way but obviously, my body couldn’t cope with all the games.

“It’s good to be back with the team for the prizes, the Brighton game and now the final.”

De Bruyne did allow his frustration to show at one point this season when, during a comeback game against Burton in the Carabao Cup in January, he headed straight down the tunnel after being substituted.

City were leading 5-0 – and went on to win 9-0 – and manager Pep Guardiola wanted to protect the star but De Bruyne, who was making just his sixth start of the season, disagreed.

Kevin De Bruyne played his part in City's demolition of Burton in the Carabao Cup

Kevin De Bruyne played his part in City’s demolition of Burton in the Carabao Cup (Martin Rickett/PA)

He admits he was told off for his reaction.

He said: “I shouldn’t really have left but sometimes emotions come up and at the time I thought it was a good game for me. It was already 5-0 so at that moment I was like, ‘I need the game time, I can still be important’.”

After celebrating their title success last weekend, City returned to training on Tuesday to prepare for Watford.

De Bruyne said: “The group is serious. You feel there’s now a little less tension than there has been in the last few weeks, obviously the main thing was the title, but everyone will be ready.”

Meanwhile, Raheem Sterling has attributed his fine form this season to a determination to repay Guardiola’s faith in him.

Sterling said: “He’s phenomenal, not only with me but with every player in the team. He gives everyone opportunities, he gives people chances and it’s down to you to repay that faith.

“The manager gives his all, he comes in every day and wants the best, not only from himself but from everyone else – the coaches, the staff, the chefs.

“He demands the best and everyone tries to give their best and that’s the best environment you can be in, to have a team full of winners.”

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