Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has admitted his side panicked in their final game of the Premier League season before winning the title from Liverpool.
Heading into their final game of the season against Aston Villa on May 22, City held a one-point advantage over the Reds, who hosted Wolverhampton Wanderers. Liverpool fell behind after just three minutes but equalized in the 24th minute with the game at the Etihad still level at 0-0.
In the 37th minute, Villa took the lead as Matty Cash headed home from close range. Steven Gerrard’s men made it 2-0 in the 69th minute through Philippe Coutinho to give Liverpool, who needed just one more goal, the initiative in the title race.
However, Manchester City staged an incredible comeback, scoring three times in six minutes to win the game 3-2. Liverpool also scored twice more in the second half to beat Wolves 3-1 but ultimately failed to reclaim the Premier League title by a single point.
Speaking after the match, De Bruyne admitted he and his team-mates were struggling to keep calm against Villa. He told Sky Sports (as quoted by Reuters):
“Maybe (City panicked) a few times – but that’s normal in this situation. But we tried to stay as calm as possible, but sometimes it was a bit panicked.”
The Belgian added that substitute Ilkay Gundogan’s goal to make it 2-1 caused a dramatic change in their attitude and atmosphere at the Etihad:
“At 2-1 it just changed the whole situation for me. The stadium, the atmosphere, the players change. We never looked back from there. Go ahead, you lose anyway. “
Super-sub Ilkay Gundogan helps Manchester City seal Premier League title ahead of Liverpool
With a 2-0 deficit with around 20 minutes to play, Guardiola started Gundogan and Oleksandr Zinchenko for Manchester City. The changes have led to City showing signs of life as they regain their sense of goal and their composure on the ball.
Gundogan finally got his side back in the game in the 76th minute, sending in a thunderous header after good work from Raheem Sterling on the right. Two minutes later City were level as Rodri headed in a neat finish at the near post from Rob Olsen.
Gundogan wrapped up the title for the defending champions with a tap-in from De Bruyne’s excellent cross in the 81st minute. The Cityzens held out until full time to win their fourth title in five seasons.