Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has declared to any of his Manchester City teammates struggling to cope with the pressure of the Premier League title race should leave the club. Sitting a point behind Liverpool with 10 games left, Pep Guardiola’s team face a much more strenuous challenge for the top-flight crown than last season when they finished top with a 19-point advantage.
The reigning champions only managed to edge past West Ham United – managed by former Man. City boss Manuel Pellegrini – on Wednesday thanks to a Sergio Aguero penalty to maintain the pressure on Jurgen Klopp’s men, who beat Watford 5-0 courtesy of braces from Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk as well as another goal from Divock Origi. Meanwhile, Guardiola is expecting further twists and turns in the battle for the top-flight crown, predicting both sides will drop points between now and the end of the campaign.
And De Bruyne has warned that City players are at the wrong club if they are not ready to step up to the challenge, urging them to focus on getting the best results as things keep heating up. “We just need to look at ourselves,” the Belgian star said. “The schedule is so tough. We are there in every competition and playing well and winning so we just need to keep going. If you come here and don’t enjoy the pressure it’s better to leave!”
Despite the narrow scoreline against West Ham, De Bruyne was happy with his side’s performance, even if fans and pundits expect them to win by a bigger margin. “The performance was good. I know people expect us to win every game 5-0 but we don’t care,” De Bruyne added. “The most important thing is creating chances. Some ricocheted away, with the others the last pass wasn’t there, it happens but we won and that was important. We played two and half days ago, a hard game at Wembley, and we won again tonight. In the first five minutes it could have been 3-0. We defended well but we just didn’t score.”
Following the win over West Ham, City have the chance to go top of the league, at least for 24 hours, when they pay a visit to Bournemouth on Saturday while Liverpool take on Everton in the Merseyside derby the following day.