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Other SportsManchester City: De Bruyne delighted with successful comeback

Manchester City: De Bruyne delighted with successful comeback

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne “could not ask for anything more” after his comeback from hamstring surgery stepped up a gear at Luton last night.

De Bruyne had made a solid return after five months out to repair an injury that reoccurred in the opening-day win at Burnley in August having also curtailed his involvement in last season’s Champions League final win over Inter.

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Previous games in January and February had provided glimpses of the Belgian’s influence but he was back to his brilliant best at Kenilworth Road, assisting four of Erling Haaland’s five goals as City swept into the FA Cup quarter-finals courtesy of a 6-2 win.

“I did not worry but I did not expect to come back in this way, if I am being honest,” he told The Guardian.

“I feel good. I think only against Brentford I was a little bit tired and I had a kick on my other hamstring. I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t risk that but I feel fine and I hope to maintain that.”

City boss Pep Guardiola has managed his comeback carefully while De Bruyne himself has been more cautious around how much playing time he should demand given the length of the lay-off.

He added: “Normally I just play on but that’s mostly been my downfall before. In a way, I try to take care of myself but I also make decisions. 

“Since I came back, my hamstring from the surgery has been great so I’m very happy about that. But I know if you don’t play for five months and come back you’re going to get niggles everywhere else. It’s normal and it’s fine.

“A game like Luton helps. I feel like I came back in a good way after being out that long. I could not ask for anything more because after five months you don’t know what could happen but I feel like I came back in the right way. I am pleased about that.”

Backing up last season’s treble was always going to be a difficult task for City but they remain on course. Last night’s success put them in the last eight of the FA Cup, they are well placed to advance past FC Copenhagen in the last 16 of the Champions League, holding a 3-1 first-leg advantage, while they sit just a point and a place behind Premier League leaders Liverpool.

“We are in all the competitions that we need to be in and we are fighting for them,” De Bruyne said. 

“That is something that is really positive after the seasons we have had before and going far. You hear about other teams, sometimes there is a drop-off, but if we win or don’t win we are fighting until the end so the drop-off has not been that much.

“Most of the big games come in March for us and if you are close to the top after March you basically fight to the end in the games that are coming. We try and get through that as much as possible and see where we are.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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