Kevin De Bruyne feels no sympathy for Liverpool, claiming Man City were "just better"

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Kevin De Bruyne feels no sympathy for Liverpool after Manchester City narrowly pipped them to the Premier League title.

City won their last 14 games to beat the Reds by a single point in a compelling and high-quality title race.

Liverpool’s 97-point tally was the third-highest ever achieved in the competition but, while City’s Belgian playmaker acknowledges their effort, he cannot feel sorry for them.

De Bruyne said: “It’s a remarkable effort, but it means that we were just better than them in the end.

“I don’t feel sorry for them because I don’t think they’d feel sorry for us. I don’t think anybody felt sorry about the way we went out of the Champions League. You take it.

“I know how they feel because you’re going to feel disappointed. We’d feel the same if it happened to us.

“But we’re still competitors. It’s been a great battle. I can understand the feelings they have but to feel sorry for them is maybe going a little too far.”

Liverpool amassed the third-highest points total in Premier League history.

Liverpool amassed the third-highest points total in Premier League history.

For all City’s success this season, it has been a frustrating campaign for De Bruyne – their player of the season last year – due to a succession of injuries.

The 27-year-old featured just 18 times in the Premier League largely due to two separate knee injuries and a number of other problems.

He returned from his latest setback to feature off the bench as City won the title at Brighton last weekend. He now wants to end on a glorious high by helping them complete the treble in the FA Cup final against Watford on Saturday.

De Bruyne said: “It makes up for it in a way but obviously it’s not been the most fun season.

“It’s been one of those years where I started really badly with two big injuries. I came back in the right way but obviously, my body couldn’t cope with all the games.

“It’s good to be back with the team for the prizes, the Brighton game and now the final.”

De Bruyne did allow his frustration to show at one point this season when, during a comeback game against Burton in the Carabao Cup in January, he headed straight down the tunnel after being substituted.

City were leading 5-0 – and went on to win 9-0 – and manager Pep Guardiola wanted to protect the star but De Bruyne, who was making just his sixth start of the season, disagreed.

He admits he was told off for his reaction.

He said: “I shouldn’t really have left but sometimes emotions come up and at the time I thought it was a good game for me. It was already 5-0 so at that moment I was like, ‘I need the game time, I can still be important’.”

After celebrating their title success last weekend, City returned to training on Tuesday to prepare for Watford.

De Bruyne said: “The group is serious. You feel there’s now a little less tension than there has been in the last few weeks, obviously the main thing was the title, but everyone will be ready.”

Meanwhile, Raheem Sterling has attributed his fine form this season to a determination to repay Guardiola’s faith in him.

Sterling said: “He’s phenomenal, not only with me but with every player in the team. He gives everyone opportunities, he gives people chances and it’s down to you to repay that faith.

“The manager gives his all, he comes in every day and wants the best, not only from himself but from everyone else – the coaches, the staff, the chefs.

“He demands the best and everyone tries to give their best and that’s the best environment you can be in, to have a team full of winners.”

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FA Cup final talking points as Man City aim to secure domestic treble, against Watford

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Mentor: Guardiola (c) has had a great effect on Sterling and Sane.

Premier League champions Manchester City will take on Watford in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola’s side will be out to secure a clean sweep of all three domestic trophies when they face Javi Gracia’s well-drilled team.

Here, Press Association Sport’s Jim van Wijk takes a looks at some of the key talking points ahead of the showpiece fixture.

Treble up

The battle for the Premier League title proved to be the most exciting in years, as City held off the challenge of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool to defend their crown following victory at Brighton on Sunday.

With the two other domestic trophies already in the bag, Pep Guardiola’s men are on the verge of an impressive clean sweep – which might just help ease the pain of their Champions League shortcomings.

However, as the history of the famous old knockout competition shows, take nothing for granted on FA Cup final day.

Deulofeu at the ready

Spaniard Gerard Deulofeu helped the Hornets produce a remarkable recovery to beat Wolves after extra-time in their semi-final, having been 2-0 down with just 11 minutes to go.

Sent on as a substitute just after the hour, the former Barcelona man produced a brilliant chip to reduce the deficit.

After captain Troy Deeney had equalised from a penalty deep into added time, Deulofeu then completed the turnaround with another composed finish following a swift counter to make it 3-2.

Gracia’s admitted the forward had been “angry” to find himself starting on the bench – and such is the impact Deulofeu can have, City might just be hoping he has used up all of his frustration in helping get the Hornets back to Wembley for the final.

Sterling effort

City’s England forward Raheem Sterling has enjoyed a stand-out campaign for both club and country.

The 24-year-old was named the Professional footballers’ Association Young Player of the Year and then voted as the 2019 footballer of the Year by the football Writers’ Association.

Sterling converted the decisive spot-kick as City beat Chelsea on penalties to win the Carabao Cup final in February.

His 17 Premier League goals helped Guardiola’s side secure the title – and another at Wembley could just seal a domestic treble.

Farewell Heurelho

Veteran Brazilian goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes is expected to make his final Watford appearance at Wembley, having started all five of the FA Cup ties.

Hornets’ fans might just be praying for some divine intervention to aid the 38-year-old former Tottenham stopper, likely to be playing one last game before hanging up his gloves.

His regular first-team opportunities now limited, Gomes has been contemplating retirement for a while – but will not have to worry about what the future might hold.

“I am prepared,” Gomes said. “I got a call-up from God to be a pastor, so maybe this can happen.”

Remember Ben Watson

Should City need any warning of just what can happen when overwhelming favourites run out at Wembley for the FA Cup final, then a quick clip of Watson’s late header for Wigan in 2013 should provide plenty of food for thought.

Roberto Mancini’s men were expected to make light work of a Wigan side who had spent the whole season battling against relegation and eventually went down.

Nothing, though, went according to script as the Latics – who had been led onto the pitch by owner Dave Whelan, a man with his own 1960 FA Cup final story to tell – produced a major upset.

After Pablo Zabaleta had been shown a second yellow card during the closing stages, Wigan eventually made their extra man count in stoppage time when Watson, who had not long recovered from a broken leg, headed home a corner at the near post.

Mancini was sacked a couple of days later, while Championship-bound Wigan went on to play in Europe.

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FA Cup final: Vincent Kompany claims Man City are hungry for more silverware

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Vincent Kompany claims Manchester City have the hunger of lions as they chase more silverware in Saturday’s FA Cup final.

City secured their second trophy of the season as they finally saw off Liverpool in a thrilling Premier League title race last Sunday.

They can now complete an unprecedented domestic treble by beating Watford at Wembley and Kompany has warned that last week’s celebrations will not have blunted their edge.

The City captain, who has claimed nine major trophies with the club, said: “It’s not about adding that achievement to my CV – I don’t care about my CV.

“I know this team and they are like a pack of lions. When this team is hungry, they are such a special team. I’m going to do everything I can to put a bit of blood in that water, so this team gets even hungrier.

“We’re a big team and there’s no denying this. I’m so eager to play the FA Cup final. I’m so motivated.”

City showed their champion qualities as they won their last 14 Premier League games to hold off Liverpool by just one point.

That determination, under intense pressure, saw them become the first side to retain the title in a decade.

Kompany played an inspirational role towards the end of the run-in, most notably with a stunning winner in the penultimate game against Leicester.

The 33-year-old, whose future is unclear with his contract due to expire this summer, said: “My style is pretty simple.

“Every now and then when things are getting too comfortable, I go a little aggressive in training or I speak up and say what I think.

“But the main thing is that these guys, together with the manager, are always able to understand what the priority is. We focus on winning games.

“Winning one title was not enough, it had been done before. Back to back – that is special.”

City are clear favourites against a Watford side that have won just one of their last six games since their semi-final victory over Wolves, but Kompany will take nothing for granted.

The Belgian said: “You can’t be complacent going into any game. To have reached this final and coming up against Watford is an achievement in itself, but now we need to try and win it.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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