Football News: Kevin De Bruyne insists the winning run Manchester City are taking into the derby against United will count for nothing without silverware.
Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne has no time for talk of karma when it comes to assessing Paul Pogba’s Manchester derby absence.
United’s influential France international was sent off during last weekend’s undulating 3-1 win at Arsenal and his manager Jose Mourinho confirmed there would be no appeal against his three-match ban for treading on Hector Bellerin.
It means the mouthwatering prospect of a midfield showdown between Pogba and De Bruyne, arguably the form player in the Premier Leauge this season, will not come to pass when Pep Guardiola’s leaders travel to Old Trafford on Sunday.
Pogba clumsily suggested during an interview with BBC Football Focus earlier last weekend that he hoped key City players would suffer injuries, in order to help United claw back the eight-point deficit they are currently nursing in second place.
A number of City fans labelled Pogba subsequently sidelining himself as a karmic occurrence but De Bruyne is keen to keep things simple in the heat of a title battle.
“I don’t believe in that s***,” he told reporters. “I’m a very straight forward guy.
“If someone believes it is karma then okay. Everyone has their right to their opinion.
“I don’t want anyone to get injured. You want to play against the best teams and the best players.
“He can say whatever he wants. I don’t care. We just have to be focused on whatever we’re doing.”
City have set and reset numerous club best marks during a scintillating unbeaten start the season but De Bruyne insists an on-going record of 20 consecutive wins in all competitions – including a penalty shooutout triumph over Wolves in the EFL Cup – will count for little unless Guardiola’s men bring home silverware at the end of the season.
“I’d prefer to be 11 points ahead than five or eight because it’s better and means we almost have a four-game advantage,” said the Belgium international, who is himself suspended for the Champions League dead rubber against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday.
“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.
“Yes [20 wins in a row is a real achievement] but it doesn’t matter if you don’t win anything at the end of the season. Nobody will care about it then.”
“If we don’t win anything at the end of the season, are you are going to talk about the 20 wins we have now? It is phenomenal but obviously we want to win in the end.”
De Bruyne opened the scoring when City won the corresponding fixture 2-1 last season, with United going unbeaten in their 39 subsequent home matches.
Nevertheless, he insists there is no prospect of Guardiola’s men curbing their attacking instincts.
“We’ll play the same there. We never change,” De Bruyne added. “We try to do the things that we are good at. That gives us the best chance to win.
“United are one of the biggest clubs in the country. They’re a massive team, they want to win the title.
“They spent a lot of money, like a lot of the big teams. They will be up for it and we will be up for it. Hopefully it’ll be a good game.”