On the eve of the Champions League final on Saturday night, Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has explained why his side may struggle for chances against Inter.
Speaking alongside coach Pep Guardiola during City’s pre-match press conference on Friday evening, the Belgian international said that the system Inter play under Simone Inzaghi is one that he and his teammates rarely come up against in the Premier League.
De Bruyne praised Inter’s defensive qualities, also noting that with the pressure of playing in a major European final, he does not expect there to be too many clear-cut opportunities on the night.
“We understand Inter,” De Bruyne said on Friday night. “They are compact, play a 5-3-2, the two strikers hold the ball well and they have runners from midfield. They defend incredibly well. We don’t expect an open game, that doesn’t happen a lot in finals.
“We shouldn’t get too nervous too quickly. Maybe there won’t be a lot of early chances. We have to play the way we do, be comfortable, and hopefully find openings and score goals.
“In the last 5-6 years in the PL, a lot of the lower teams play with a five, maybe more 5-4-1 but they do it with two strikers which is a little bit different. The advantage Inter have over teams in England is they play it all the time, they know the system in and out and are very good at it.”
De Bruyne also accepted the recent compliments given to City by Inter coach Inzaghi, who claimed that the Manchester outfit are the clear favourites heading into the final.
He replied: “Thank you to the coach, we work hard to perform at the best we can do. We’ve been able to win a lot of games and trophies domestically. Everybody knows how we play, set up defensively and offensively. We’ll try and do the same tomorrow.”
Despite a trophy-laden spell in the North East of England since his arrival from Wolfsburg in 2015, De Bruyne, and City, are still missing the coveted Champions League trophy from their collection.
“I’ve been here a long time, for me it’s been incredible the eight years I’ve been here. Lots of high moments, obviously we’ve competed in this competition but not been able to win it yet. It’s the only remark people can give us. We’ve been consistent, good in this competition. We need to find a way to win the first one. It would be immense for the players, club, fans,” De Bruyne said.