Published On: Tue, Dec 5th, 2017

Kevin De Bruyne gives Paul Pogba verdict as Man City prepare for Man Utd showdown

Pogba joked in a television interview at the weekend that he hoped some Manchester City stars would be injured for the showdown between the Premier League’s top two teams.

As it turned out, it is Pogba who will miss the game after his red card for United at the Emirates. 

But De Bruyne is so confident about all-conquering City’s form that he would prefer it if the France midfielder was actually in action in the Old Trafford showdown on Sunday.

He said: “I don’t believe in that s***. I’m a very straightforward guy. If someone believes it is karma then okay. Everyone has a right to their opinion.

“I don’t care – he can say whatever he wants. I don’t want anyone to get injured. It’s a competition, you want to play against the best teams and the best players.

“He’s a massive player. I know him a little bit. He’s unbelievable. But he took a red card and that’s the way it goes. You have injuries and suspensions. We just have to be focused on whatever we’re doing.”

Pogba’s absence may force Jose Mourinho into a tactical rethink but De Bruyne says nothing will ever change Pep Guardiola’s ‘total football’ philosophy.

It’s an approach that has brought City a remarkable 20 wins on the bounce in all competitions, including 13 in the Premier League. Another victory at Old Trafford will equal the all-time record for consecutive wins in the top flight.

“We’ll play the same there,” said De Bruyne. “We never change. We try to do the things that we are good at. That gives us the best chance to win.

“We want to do what we always do – try to play our style, put them under pressure and see where it goes from there. We want to try and dominate the ball, so we just have to look at ourselves.

“Hopefully, we can win the game, it would be massive. But it’s not always about winning or losing – it’s about playing the same way we always do and giving our all. So far, that’s seen us win games, so that’s good.”

City are breaking all sorts of records but De Bruyne says it will mean nothing if they do not end up with the Premier League title at the end of the season.

“If we don’t win anything at the end of the season, are you going to be talking about the 20 wins we have now? It is phenomenal but obviously we want to win [the title] in the end.

“It [the winning run] gives us a good advantage for the moment but we have a big week with United, then Swansea and Tottenham. If you lose two games out of three and they win their three games, they are there.

“It is just the way it goes. It goes up and down in football and at the moment we are on an up. We need to keep focused with whatever we are doing and keep busy with ourselves.”

De Bruyne, who has a Euro suspension, will be left behind along with several other of Manchester City’s first-choice stars when Guardiola’s squad fly to Ukraine today for tomorrow’s ‘dead’ Champions League rubber against Shakthar Donetsk.

Meanwhile Guardiola will face no punishment over his heated post-match discussion with Southampton’s Nathan Redmond last week. The FA have accepted the Spaniard’s explanation of the incident but reminded him of his responsibilities.

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