Spurs' new stadium no big deal: De Bruyne

Despite Manchester City's hectic schedule, midfielder Kevin de Bruyne (third from right) says the team are taking it one game at a time as they stay on course to win an unprecedented quadruple.
Despite Manchester City's hectic schedule, midfielder Kevin de Bruyne (third from right) says the team are taking it one game at a time as they stay on course to win an unprecedented quadruple.PHOTO: REUTERS

Midfielder says City will treat q-final 1st leg as any other game; striker Aguero set to return

LONDON • Kevin de Bruyne has rubbished suggestions that Tottenham's new 62,000-capacity ground could influence the outcome of the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City.

Speaking ahead of their visit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium today, the Belgium midfielder insisted he "did not care about it" despite claims the new home, which will host its second game, could act as an extra incentive for Mauricio Pochettino's side.

He added: "I care about the team we play. Everybody talks about the stadium like it's something special.

"Everybody has a stadium. Everybody has supporters. They'll be up for it. They'll probably be a little bit more excited but, in the end, it's a stadium with supporters.

"If they go to Wembley with 80,000 or there with 62,000 (fans), it'll be the same. It'll be a tough game, but we'll be all right."

Like his manager Pep Guardiola, de Bruyne is not entertaining any talk of an unprecedented quadruple even though City remain on course for the feat, given their fixture congestion.

The 27-year-old said: "You know how heavy the schedule is? People underestimate how the fixtures come that quickly. We're just going to play (on) Tuesday and, hopefully, play a good game."

BRING IT ON

Everybody talks about the stadium like it's something special. Everybody has a stadium. Everybody has supporters. They'll be up for it. They'll probably be a little bit more excited but, in the end, it's a stadium with supporters. It'll be a tough game, but we'll be all right.

'KEVIN DE BRUYNE, Manchester City midfielder, on his team not intimidated by Tottenham's new home.

HOME COMFORTS

Maybe the City players don't realise because they've always played at home, but we've played away from home for almost two years.

SON HEUNG-MIN, Spurs forward, on how their new stadium will lift the players.

However, Spurs forward Son Heung-min has countered de Bruyne by insisting the atmosphere can be beneficial as "we've missed our home a lot".

The South Korea international said yesterday: "Maybe the City players don't realise because they've always played at home, but we've played away from home for almost two years."

Spurs captain Hugo Lloris, who will be the player most under the spotlight after a string of under-par displays, also feels the crowd will "make City's life harder".

The France goalkeeper said: "At some moments in the game, we (will) feel the power, this can be a help for the team."

City remained in London after their FA Cup semi-final win over Brighton instead of returning to Manchester to minimise disruption at this crucial period of the season.

Striker Sergio Aguero has shaken off a muscle injury and could return to action today after missing the last two matches.

Guardiola said yesterday that he expected Spurs to stick to their attacking instincts as they eye a first European win in their new home.

"We know what we are going to face, it's up to us how we handle it. If we don't, that's because we are not prepared to go through," the Spaniard said.

"I will give my message to the players, always playing against Spurs away they will always play in that way I can't expect differently.

"How we handle that if they do it we must try to do it more. Maybe they will play high press and aggressive, we will prepare for that."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

TOTTENHAM V MAN CITY

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2019, with the headline 'Spurs' new stadium no big deal: De Bruyne'. Print Edition | Subscribe