De Bruyne admits to being below his best during injury-hit season at Man City

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The Belgium international playmaker enjoyed a stunning campaign in 2017-18, but has seen fitness issues disrupt his form and rhythm this time around

Kevin De Bruyne admits he has been below his best for Manchester City but believes regular game time will help to rediscover his spark.

The Belgium international enjoyed a stunning 2017-18 campaign, in what was a record-breaking season for all concerned at the Etihad Stadium.

He delivered eight goals and 16 assists in Premier League competition, having posted six efforts and laid on 18 more in 2016-17.

The target has been found just once this term, but De Bruyne has been severely hampered by injury.

Ligament damage in his right leg kept him out for three months early in 2018-19, while a similar ailment in his left knee sidelined him in November.

He has been restricted to just two Premier League starts as a result, and told reporters of his form after the most recent of those against Huddersfield: “I’m getting better.

“You need a run of games where you play a lot because I’m not used to playing every three days, but I’m getting there.

“I’m happy with the way I’m performing. It’s not the same record as last year, but you can expect that because I’ve been out since the World Cup.

“To come back twice is not mentally not that easy, but I’m happy to be back playing football again.”

De Bruyne Manchester City Burton 2018-19

De Bruyne concedes that the only way he is going to make the contribution expected of him is to take in more minutes.

With that in mind, he is eager to figure as often as possible over the coming weeks.

City’s next outing is set to come against Burton Albion in the second leg of a Carabao Cup semi-final clash that they already lead 9-0 on aggregate.

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“I want to play every game,” said De Bruyne.

“We know with Burton, we should go through, but every game you need to show respect to the other teams. What they did is amazing for them. In the end, it is the manager’s decision who plays on Wednesday.

“We want to go as far as possible and until now we have done well, so we will try to keep that going.”

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