Kevin De Bruyne sends title message to Liverpool after Man City smash Man Utd in derby

Man City v Man UTD: Pictures

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Kevin De Bruyne was pleased with how Manchester City handled the “pressure” of winning their derby fixture against Manchester United after Liverpool put the heat on in the Premier League title race. Pep Guardiola’s men strolled to a 4-1 win at the Etihad Stadium to restore their six-point advantage at the summit.

The Belgian was simply sensational throughout, scoring twice and setting up another as the league leaders showed their strength to blow away their local rivals.

De Bruyne finished with aplomb from a Bernardo Silva cross to give Man City the lead and doubled his tally by reacting quickest to a goalmouth scramble.

The 29-year-old turned provider with a sumptuous corner to find Riyad Mahrez, who struck on the half-volley to put City 3-1 up after former City trainee Jadon Sancho had grabbed a goal back in the first half.

Mahrez then added a fourth towards the end of the 90 minutes after his goal, originally flagged for offside, was allowed to stand after a VAR intervention.

It means that Man City have moved back to six points clear of Liverpool at the top, although the Reds have a game in hand with 11 games remaining of the season.

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Jurgen Klopp’s side had the benefit of playing on Saturday and narrowly beat West Ham 1-0 to stay in the race for the title, putting pressure on City to get a result.

When asked to assess the importance of their response, De Bruyne praised his side for not only winning but sticking to their football philosophy.

“Today we proved we are a good team and we played really well so we deserved the three points,” he told Sky Sports.

“It’s winning game by game. They put the pressure on us – we responded in a good way.

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“We always play the way we need to play.

“Sometimes we don’t get the result but we always play our football. And we will fight for it until the end of the season.”

Man City are favourites to retain their title for a fourth time in the last five seasons under Guardiola and the Catalan coach hailed the performance as one of the best since his arrival at the club since 2016.

“The movement from Kevin, Jack [Grealish] and Phil [Foden] was excellent,” he said in his post-match interview.

“One of the best performances since I have been here. The quality and physicality of our play was great, Kyle was exceptional, Bernardo, Kevin, Jack and Rodri were involved and we could rest with the ball.”|

Guardiola also expressed his pride at the commitment shown by his players to trying to prolong their success.

“Hopefully we can say we are a pain in the a** for Liverpool too,” Guardiola added.

“I said many times the success as a manager is the fact that year after year we still run like we are there to win again, even after three titles.

“We remain humble and continue to play every single game, do it and be there, these guys have done it many, many times.

“To fight with them (Liverpool) is one of the biggest achievements of my career.”

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