Kev happy to be crowned as­sists king...

Manchester Evening News - - CITY SPECIAL - By STU­ART BREN­NAN stu­art.bren­nan@men-news.co.uk @StuBren­nanMEN

KEVIN de Bruyne ad­mits he gets a big­ger kick from set­ting up a goal than scor­ing one him­self!

The Bel­gium ace earned the nick­name King of the As­sists when he set a new Bun­desliga record with 23 dur­ing his Wolfs­burg days, be­fore be­ing snapped up by City.

But in his first sea­son with the Blues he scored ten and as­sisted nine goals in the Premier League and Cham­pi­ons League.

Pep Guardi­ola switched him to a deeper role last sea­son and – while his goalscor­ing tally dropped to seven – he boosted his as­sist fig­ure to an amaz­ing 19, and has al­ready claimed three dur­ing this cam­paign.

De Bruyne also hit the wood­work an as­ton­ish­ing nine times last sea­son, so he was close to hav­ing an in­cred­i­ble cam­paign in terms of his per­sonal statis­tics.

But he claims that set­ting up a team-mate of­ten gives him an even big­ger thrill than hit­ting the net him­self.

“I get more joy from an as­sist some­times, just in the way I feel,” he said af­ter mas­ter­mind­ing City’s 4-0 win at Feyeno­ord, and tee­ing up John Stones for the fourth.

“It’s nice to score a goal but I don’t get in that type of po­si­tion too many times, as I did in the first year. But it doesn’t mat­ter.

“I am en­joy­ing my foot­ball and the goals will come. As long as we win I don’t care.”

De Bruyne was lit­er­ally inches away from scor­ing well into dou­ble fig­ures last sea­son, and the look on his face as shots pep­pered the frame of the goal got more and more in­cred­u­lous as the sea­son wore on.

But he says the only one that still irks him was when he glanced a shot off the bar from ten yards out, with City lead­ing 1-0 against Chelsea. It was a golden chance, and a costly miss as the Kevin de Bruyne Lon­don­ers hit back to win 3-1 and take con­trol of the league ti­tle race. De Bruyne says that mo­ment is the only wood­work hit that still both­ers him. “It’s frus­trat­ing at the mo­ment you hit the post, but last year the only one that hit the wood­work that I re­gret was the one against Chelsea where I hit the bar.” And he said that he is rel­ish­ing the chance to play deeper and leave the front­line at­tack­ing to the pace and sharp­ness of play­ers like Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane, Ser­gio Aguero and Ra­heem Ster­ling. “The guys who come in are so tal­ented one against one with speed, and abil­ity to drib­ble, and I’m more of a pass­ing player,” he said. “I have learned so much from David Silva and Fer­nand­inho in the mid­dle, and from Yaya Toure. “I am get­ting bet­ter in that way.”

Kevin de Bruyne has re­vealed he gets more joy from set­ting up a goal than scor­ing one

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