De Bruyne central to Manchester City success
Thursday, October 22, 2015
"Your job is to try to create something or to score a goal," said Kevin De Bruyne, who deputised for Sergio Agüero as Manchester City's European match-winner against Sevilla.
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Before last night, Manchester City FC had scored three last-minute winners in their European Cup history – all of them supplied by Sergio Agüero.
Against Sevilla yesterday there was no Agüero, scorer of the 90th-minute winner in Borussia Mönchengladbach on matchday two, so instead Kevin De Bruyne took over the task of delivering the last-minute heroics to continue his superb start to life as a City player.
The 91st-minute goal that secured City's hard-fought 2-1 home victory was his fifth in his last seven matches for the club he joined from Wolfsburg in the summer. There have also been five assists – notably a wonderful pass to Raheem Sterling in last Saturday's defeat of Bournemouth – but this was the Belgian's most important contribution yet.
For a start it was De Bruyne's first winning goal in City blue; moreover, it brought a victory that had looked likely to elude Manuel Pellegrini's men during much of the preceding 90 minutes as a subdued home crowd saw Sevilla create the clearer opportunities from their lion's share of possession (58%) and 12 corners.
Snatching victory without playing at your best is not a bad habit to have – after all, City fans need only look at the way neighbours Manchester United won the 1999 UEFA Champions League final against Bayern München. And those same fans have already seen persuasive evidence that they have another big-game player in their ranks in De Bruyne.
He shone in the UEFA Europa League for Wolfsburg last season, catching the eye with five goals and five assists and his ability to roam right across the forward line. This versatility told last night when after the withdrawal of Wilfried Bony in the 76th minute, De Bruyne was moved to a more central role from the left flank.
In the first half, De Bruyne had sent one angled shot wide, but when opportunity knocked against the tiring visitors a minute into added time, he showed a clinical touch, supplying the low arrowed strike that gave City their first UEFA Champions League home success this term – and lifted them within a point of Group D leaders Juventus.
"I don't play this position really often but when the manager puts you there, your job is to try to create something or to score a goal and I am happy to do that," said De Bruyne. "It is very important that today that we got the three points, we didn't play our best game and personally me neither but the most important thing was to get the victory and that gives us a little advantage for the next game.
"Sevilla are a great team in possession and they play very deep so it was difficult to find openings," added the 24-year-old. "The last 15 minutes we had a couple of chances but Sevilla also had chances."
The manner of City's win will "boost our morale" according to Jesús Navas, their Spanish winger who was playing against his old club last night. Navas joined the chorus of praise for De Bruyne when he added: "He's a very important player with a lot of quality – he can score a goal and he is helping us a lot. We knew he was a good player who had been doing well and was playing at a high level last season and he's kept on the same track this season."