Schalke 04 vs Man City - De Bruyne eyes improved trophy haul

Posted Wednesday, February 20, 2019 by PA

Schalke 04 vs Man City - De Bruyne eyes improved trophy haul

Kevin De Bruyne admits opponents are starting to work out Manchester City but is still hopeful of improving on last season’s historic efforts.

Pep Guardiola’s team are still challenging in the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup but De Bruyne was unwilling to get drawn into talk of winning an unprecedented quadruple.

Ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League last 16 first leg against Schalke, he said: “I think the goal is not to win the four competitions. The goal is to win every game and then the further you progress.

“We are happy with where we are but we want to progress in every round we play in. That’s now the Champions League.

“We want to do well and go to the quarter-finals, so we are one step closer to winning it. To set standards to win all four – that’s nearly impossible.

“I think other teams figure out what we do, maybe, a little bit better. The way we play is always going to be the same with Pep, we’re not going to change. Everybody knows that.

“Maybe it’s not the same as last year but maybe we’ll win more titles this year. The most important thing is titles. If we win three titles we will have done better than last year.”

City will be without striker Gabriel Jesus and defender John Stones at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen because of hamstring and groin injuries respectively.

They could face a quick reunion with their academy graduate Rabbi Matondo, who left for Schalke in an £11million deal in January.

The 18-year-old Wales winger never made a first-team appearance for City but has already featured three times for the German side, including twice in the Bundesliga.

Coach Domenico Tedesco, however, was keen to play down expectations on the youngster as he held a press conference on the eve of the match.

Tedesco said: “He stressed to us that he is investing in his football here and he is passionate about football.

“But he is a new player. We need patience, and we have this patience.”

Schalke will come up against one of their own youth products in Germany winger Leroy Sane, who left for City in 2016.

Tedesco said: “We know the qualities of Leroy Sane. We will have to show a good performance and defend well against him.”

Schalke are 14th in the Bundesliga, having finished second last season, and Tedesco said: “We are the underdog, clearly not the favourite. This is obvious.

“But it’s nice if everyone thinks that. City have to prove they are stronger and superior to us.

“We will put everything we have against them. You can compare it to facing Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga. They are one of the top teams in Europe and we want to show off.

“We know Man City are a very strong team and we will have to have our best day and prove ourselves. Maybe this is our chance.”



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