(Reuters) – Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has played down the significance of Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash against bitter rivals Manchester United, saying that the outcome of the game will not decide who wins the Premier League.
City have been in impressive form this season, and currently sit at the top of the table with 21 points after nine games, having scored more goals than any other team in the league.
However, breathing down their necks are the Red Devils, who sit third in the table, just two points adrift of their neighbours.
“If you take a point or even lose, it’s not ideal but there are still almost 30 games to go so this result won’t be the deciding factor in who wins the title. There are still many points to be won and lost in the coming months,” De Bruyne was quote as saying by British media.
The 24-year-old Belgian has urged his team to focus on their attack despite goalkeeper Joe Hart saying City, who have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last eight games, need to tighten their defence.
“We shouldn’t play defensive because our main strength lies going forward, though we need to stay disciplined,” De Bruyne said.
“We know it will be difficult. Man United have been a top team for a long time and the rivalry between us and them obviously runs deep, but the season is very long — that said, we know what it means to our supporters and it would be nice if we could go there and get three points,” he added.
With David Silva and Sergio Aguero likely to miss the game through injury, all eyes will be on the Belgium international, who has been in sparkling form scoring five goals in nine appearances since his move from VfL Wolfsburg in August.
“It probably couldn’t have been much better — the only thing that would have improved things would be if we’d won more matches. We lost three and won five of my first eight games but we’re getting back on track,” he said.
(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru. Editing by Patrick Johnston)