LONDON – Manchester City playmaker Kevin de Bruyne says beating the club’s biggest rivals will be key to challenging for the Premier League title after Pep Guardiola’s side swept Liverpool aside in impressive style.
City failed to sustain a title challenge last season and their record against the other teams that finished in the top seven proved a major shortfall.
In games against Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United and Everton, City, who ended the campaign third and 15 points off the top, collected just 11 points.
But City demolished Liverpool 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, and are now level with Manchester United at the top of the table on 10 points.
“The only thing we didn’t do last year was win the big games,” De Bruyne, who set up goals for Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, said after Saturday’s match.
“I thought we deserved to win a few more games than we did, especially at home, like the ones against Tottenham and Chelsea.”
“It makes a difference – that’s five or six points extra and they are losing those points, so then you are closer together.”
City have spent more than £200 million since the end of last season in strengthening their squad for a renewed challenge.
De Bruyne, in comments published by the British press on Monday, said: “The guys who have come in have a very physical quality, they are very strong, very pacy.
“They make the pitch big, that is a quality of them, and it is difficult for the other teams.”