Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne claims that he was disappointed that Paul Pogba will be absent for Sunday’s Manchester derby because he relishes coming up against the best players.
Pogba will be starting a three-match ban after he was sent off in Manchester United’s 3-1 win at Arsenal for a challenge on Hector Bellerín.
Although the French international said last week that he hoped Manchester City players would suffer injuries to help United’s title push, de Bruyne rejected the idea that karma was at work.
“I don’t believe in that,” de Bruyne said. “I’m a very straightforward guy. If someone believes it is karma then OK. Everyone has their right to their opinion. I don’t want anyone to get injured. It’s a competition, you want to play against the best teams and the best players.”
“I don’t care [what he says]. He can say whatever he wants. We just have to be focused on whatever we’re doing. He’s a massive player. I know him a little bit. He’s unbelievable. He took a red card and that’s the way it goes – you have injuries and suspensions.”
Should City win at Old Trafford on Sunday they will move 11 points clear at the top, but De Bruyne remains wary of celebrating too early, and that nobody will care about Manchester City’s present club-record 20-match winning run if they fail to pick up any trophies this season.
“It means we [would] almost have a four-game advantage,” he added. “It’s a good gap but doesn’t mean anything. Football goes very quick. It’s a busy two months when things can change but the way we’re going is good and we need to continue that.”
“If we don’t win anything, are you going to talk about 20 wins? Nobody will care about it. Our winning run is phenomenal and gives us a good advantage but we have a big week with Swansea and Tottenham following the United game.”
“If we lost two out of three and they win everything, they are there. At the moment we are on an up. We need to keep focused with whatever we are doing and keep busy with ourselves.”