Blazing hot Kevin De Bruyne came out firing out of the blocks as Manchester City faced Wolves on Monday night. The Belgian drew a penalty, scored the first goal and provided an assist for the third in a 3-1 victory. It was City’s first game of the new season and a tricky one as the Wanderers downed the Blues on the same ground last term.
City’s two-goal lead came under threat deep into the second half after the home side rallied and pulled one back. But the team was all business this time around, scoring the third goal deep into added time to ensure victory and secure the three points at stake. De Bruyne played the full match and was a torn in the side of Wolves all game.
After picking up the Premier League and Professional Footballers Association Player of the Year awards for last season, the 29-year-old stated he is more interested in the success of the team this time around.
“I would prefer to have five goals and five assists and go away with the title,” he stated after the game.
“You can contribute a lot in different ways.
“I’m a midfielder but I know these days it’s a lot about statistics. I need to contribute in one way or another so that’s what I’m trying to do.”
It’s a good thing the Belgian is not motivated by individual awards. After equaling Thiery Henry’s Premier League assist record last term, beating it this season will be the natural expectation for many. But being overly concerned with that can be counter-productive.
What is more important is to do the best required for the team at every point in time including defending when necessary. Whoever wants to score four goals against Tottenham and still end up dumped out of the Champions League? The lessons from that game remain evergreen. Sometimes keeping a defensive shape, containing the opposition and winning by just a goal could be more important. The really big teams know that.
Despite destroying Barcelona 8-2 on the way to the Champions League final last month, Bayern Munich settled for just a 1-0 scoreline against Paris Saint Germain to win the competition. It’s the stuff of champions.
With Liverpool starting the season strongly again, City will need to brace up for a tough fight to reclaim the Premier League title.
Whatever individual awards come to players at the end of the campaign will be welcome. But winning trophies as a team should always be prioritised over individual honours.
It’s a team sport after all.