In a way, Kevin De Bruyne was no different to any Manchester City fan in the final weeks of the season.
“I hate watching my team,” he told reporters on the eve of the FA Cup final. “I just can’t, especially at the end of the season when there’s so much at stake.”
The relentless form of City and Liverpool made this title run-in perhaps the tensest in Premier League history, with supporters of both sides knowing even the most minor of slips could cost their sides the trophy they covet most.
Jurgen Klopp’s side recorded 97 points, enough to have won the title in any Premier League season apart from the last two, when City won 100 and 98.
Guardiola says he himself admires Liverpool perhaps more than some of the club’s own fans, but while De Bruyne says he can sympathise with their predicament, he does not feel sorry for them.
“No,” he replies. “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. We want to win as much as they do, but I can understand the feelings they have.”