Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has hit back at criticism of his recent form, insisting he is still ‘playing alright’ amid claims that his levels have dropped since the World Cup.
De Bruyne has only had four direct goal involvements in the Premier League since early November. That being said, he still leads the league in assists (12) and chances created (66).
Additional focus has also been put on City since a recent spell that saw them drop points against both Tottenham and Nottingham Forest in February – those five points they missed out on are the difference between them and leaders Arsenal in the current table.
"People expect me to score every game and assist every game. I think I've been playing quite well. Maybe there have been fewer assists but I don't think I've been creating less,” De Bruyne said.
"I feel fine. I think I'm playing alright - maybe not the best I've ever played but it's good. You know the stats - I've created the most in the league and have the most assists and I've not even played four or five games. I've been doing the same thing for eight years here and 15 years in professional football so I'm feeling fine.”
Pep Guardiola recently suggested that De Bruyne’s standards are the ‘sky’ and that he only has to focus on what he does best in order to have the impact he was earlier in the campaign.
The 31-year-old Belgian, who also referred to himself as an ‘old man’ in football, went on to state that he will always have expectations greater than any of the critics ‘will ever do’.
City had to work hard to get their win over Crystal Palace at the weekend, with Erling Haaland sealing the narrow victory with a late penalty. De Bruyne didn’t start that game but he did finish it, coming on immediately after the reigning champions took their lead.
“I'm an old man in this game, I know how it is. I'm fine. Obviously you want to play as much as possible but if you don't play you do the best for 10 minutes and that's what I did and get the win for the team,” he said.
"I don't have to do anything different. People know who I am after eight years, know what I do for the team, what I'm good at and what I'm not good at. I don't want to do different things that I'm not good at on and off the pitch. Everyone has his role to play.”