‘Sometimes it’s hard’: De Bruyne says he understands Sterling’s frustration

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‘Sometimes it’s hard’: De Bruyne says he understands Sterling’s frustration


Kevin De Bruyne says he understands Raheem Sterling’s frustration of not always starting under Pep Guardiola for Manchester City, although the midfielder said that while the team is performing well it is hard to complain.

Last week, Sterling said he was open to leaving City – possibly moving overseas – for “more playing time”. De Bruyne, one of the few players who, when in form, is usually selected by Guardiola, sympathizes with his teammate.

“The rotation is important because playing four competitions and especially going far is sometimes a difficult question,” he said. “But I understand the frustration because some players need more rhythm and maybe Raz is someone who needs more.

“I’m a player who needs that too. Sometimes it’s hard to play a yes game, a no game. Obviously it’s the manager who has to make choices and it’s very hard. We have a group of 22, 23 internationals who are amazing. Whoever you choose, you will be right most of the time. Whenever the team is playing well, there isn’t much to say as a player. It can be frustrating, but we try to help each other.

City are at Club Brugge on Tuesday night for their third Champions League Group A match, one point behind Philippe Clément’s second. De Bruyne believes he is starting to find his optimal pace after sustaining a serious facial injury in the final loss to Chelsea in May and damaging ankle ligaments at Euro 2020.

“I feel a lot better,” said the midfielder. “There is still a little that can go up, of course. I would say that over the last six months there have been some ups and downs, playing without really practicing. I had quite a sore ankle so it was good that we took time off after the Tottenham game [a month from mid-August] but I feel myself getting stronger and the coaches say the same.

Guardiola agreed. “We know the best Kevin, but he’s had serious injuries,” the manager said. “Every game he plays is better than the last. Outside of goals, assists, it’s about his drive, his pace, his pace – everything you only get when you play regularly. He’s better and that’s a good sign.

Quick guide

Club Bruges v Manchester City: the probable teams

Spectacle

Club de Bruges (4-2-3-1): Mignolet; Mata, Hendry, Nsoki, Sobol; Rits, Balanta; Sowah, Vanaken, Lang; De Ketelaere
Manchester City (4-1-1-3-1) : Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo; Rodri; De Bruyne; Mahrez, Silva, Grealish; Foden

Referee: I Kovacs (Romania)

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De Bruyne was visibly upset when he was forced off the pitch in the Champions League final, but he is now phlegmatic. “I don’t remember how I got to the hospital the same night,” he said. “I remember going back to the team hotel in the morning at 10 am, still with my City kit. It’s sport, it happens. It’s not the best thing, but you do. “

Ederson and Gabriel Jesus are available after flying to Belgium from South America, having played for Brazil in the early hours of last Friday. They will join the team at the team hotel on Monday evening.

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