Kevin De Bruyne was happy to get the last laugh over his Manchester United-supporting mates after his devastating derby display on Sunday.
The Manchester City playmaker scored twice as the Premier League leaders thrashed their neighbours 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
The victory restored the champions’ six-point lead at the top and gave Belgium star De Bruyne extra reason to look forward to returning home, where he had been hosting visitors over the weekend.
De Bruyne said: “I had a load of friends come over from Belgium and three were United fans, so they were trying to keep me awake all night, so I wouldn’t sleep the night before!
“Now I can go home and have a good laugh with them. It’s banter – but I’m obviously very happy.”
De Bruyne fired City into a fifth-minute lead and then restored their advantage after Jadon Sancho equalised for United.
What an amazing day. Derby win and 50 th goal in the premier league. Blue city 💙 pic.twitter.com/8lgIc0VfZL— Kevin De Bruyne (@DeBruyneKev) March 6, 2022
City then stepped up a gear and eventually ran out comfortable winners with two more goals from Riyad Mahrez in a one-sided second half.
Yet, despite the commanding win ensuring City remained in control of the title race, De Bruyne is well aware that second-placed Liverpool are refusing to give up the chase.
The champions of 2020, who have won their last seven, have a game in hand and a trip to the Etihad Stadium to come next month.
Hopefully in the end we’ll win it, but there’s still a long way to goKevin De Bruyne
Asked if that April 10 clash could be decisive, De Bruyne said: “Yes, it could be, but it’s so far away – there’s a lot of important games in between.
“A lot can change between now and then. We can lose games or they can, so I’m not necessarily watching out now for that game.
“It never stops does it? But it’s good. We push each other to be the best version we can be. All we can do as a team and as individuals is try to win every game.
“Hopefully in the end we’ll win it, but there’s still a long way to go.”
The title race has similarities to the thrilling contest between the two clubs in 2019, which City ultimately edged by 98 points to 97 on the final day after winning their last 14 matches.
“I’d say it looks similar for the moment,” said De Bruyne, who scored City’s equaliser when the sides drew 2-2 at Anfield in October.
“Both teams have been doing so well, but we push each other. We’re both great teams.”