De Bruyne 'ahead of schedule' for City return


Kevin De Bruyne expects to be back in action following the international break to help salvage Manchester City's ailing season.

The Belgium international became City's club-record signing at the start of this campaign and has lived up to his billing with 12 goals and 14 assists across 31 appearances in all competitions.

De Bruyne came off the bench to score and set up Sergio Aguero's decisive header in the second leg of the League Cup semi-final triumph over Everton in January but sustained medial knee ligament damage during the closing stages of a 4-3 aggregate victory.

Manuel Pellegrini's side went on to lift the League Cup thanks to a penalty shoot-out win over Liverpool at Wembley last month but their Premier League form has collapsed in De Bruyne's absence.

City have lost four and won two of seven league matches without the attacking midfielder to leave their title hopes in tatters and prospects of a top-four finish under threat.

"The injury is going good. I'm training very well. I'm thinking that I'm ahead of schedule so I'm looking to be back after the international break," De Bruyne told City TV. "I think that's a couple of weeks ahead.

"I've been training outside for two-and-a-hours weeks, doing one-and-a-half hour sessions outside, plus inside. For the moment I'm not having any issues, so I'm doing fine.

"It's always frustrating for a player not to be there. But from the day [the injury] happened I switched my button and I'm preparing myself to do well in the next couple of games when I will be there.

"Obviously it's been tough because we lost a few games in the league and we are a little bit behind.

"But we are there in the Champions League, looking forward to that, and hopefully we can do well."

The April 2 Premier League trip to AFC Bournemouth appears to be the initial target for De Bruyne before City contest the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time in their history with a mouth-watering tie against Paris Saint-Germain.

"I think it's a very nice draw," he added. "Obviously PSG is a wonderful club. They are already champions in France so maybe that can be an advantage for us.

"If you want to win the Champions League you need to win against the big guns. "