Kevin De Bruyne is set for a return to Premier League action when Manchester City host Wolves on Monday night. Kevin De Bruyne says he can’t stand losing – even when playing board games with his family.
The Manchester City midfielder was pivotal to the Blues’ record-breaking, 100-point Premier League success last season and believes City’s mental toughness was key to maintaining a higher standard than the English first division had ever seen before. The 27-year-old, who has missed 22 City games through two separate knee injuries this season, got vital minutes under his belt in the seven- and nine-goal victories against Rotherham and Burton Albion in the Blues’ FA and Carabao Cup triumphs, and is set to feature against Wolves as City’s Premier League retention bid resumes on Monday night.
And De Bruyne says he has an instinctive will to win, regardless of the competition.
“Winning,” he told Sky Sports, when asked what motivates him. “I can’t stand to lose.
“Even at home, playing boards game with the missus, the son, whatever, I can’t lose against them. It’s just the way I am. It just drives me to keep going and to become probably the best I can be in football.”
De Bruyne has asserted himself among the Premier League’s best players since signing for City in 2015 after a disappointing 18-month spell with Chelsea between 2012 and 2014. The Belgium international made just three league appearances for the Stamford Bridge outfit before Jose Mourinho sanctioned his sale to Wolfsburg for £18 million.
De Bruyne set the standard in the Bundesliga to spark interest from Europe’s elite, before City swooped to secure a £55 million deal on deadline day of the 2015 summer transfer window.
And the midfielder says the mental toughness required to succeed in football separates the men from the boys.
“Yes, you need to have talent, but hard work is the biggest part,” he said. “The differences between players at this level is so minimal. A few changes can make a big difference in the end.
“We won by 19 points last season, but won a lot of games last minute. That’s the most important thing, to keep going and keep going. In the end it’s more about being mentally fit rather than physically. There is no rest for us.