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Manchester City appreciate Raheem Sterling if some fans don't - De Bruyne

LEICESTER -- Kevin De Bruyne says Manchester City appreciate Raheem Sterling even if other supporters may not.

England winger Sterling recovered from a back injury to play a crucial role in City's 2-0 win over Leicester City, which maintained their eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

Both players were substituted late in the second half and while De Bruyne left the pitch to applause from many Leicester fans, there were a small number of boos as Sterling walked off.

"I know that we appreciate him very well," De Bruyne told reporters about his teammate. "Obviously a lot of times in England where English players go to another surrounding and they are like more booing him. But I think he is an unbelievable player and he sets up so many goals and scores so many goals for us.

"Since the day I came here, we arrived at almost the same time, we hit it off perfectly. He's a very good friend."

On his own ovation from Foxes supporters, De Bruyne put it down to the team's display rather than his own performance, which included a brilliant 20-yard strike into the top corner that wrapped up the victory.

Kevin De Bruyne considers Raheem Sterling a good friend.

"It feels nice. Sometimes it's a strange feeling but it's nice to be appreciated," he said. "It would not only be me, it's just the way we are playing that people appreciate the style of playing.

"Obviously everyone has their own style but from a neutral point of view everyone likes to see the way that we are playing."

City have taken 34 points from a possible 36, which is equal to the club's start in 2012, but their goal difference of plus-33 makes it the best start to a season at this stage.

Of the six teams to have 31 points or more at this point, only Newcastle United in 1995-96 failed to go on and win the title. However, De Bruyne says they are not making any comparisons to previous seasons.

"It's nice to have a three-game advantage," the Belgium international added. "I want to be in that position but I think the main thing now is that we are looking at ourselves and we don't need to look like other years [or] at other people.

"By maintaining the focus on ourselves we will be more busy winning our game and not worrying about what's happening with the rest.

"If we are winning our game we are going to put pressure on the rest. For the moment we are coping with it really well."

Meanwhile Pep Guardiola insisted there was no danger of his side becoming complacent.

"That is not going to happen, I [will] kill them," he joked in his news conference.

"The team is going to be [top], that has happened, but this year the team has the desire to get the ball to play, the team does not speculate about absolutely anything."

Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.


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