BURNLEY, England — Kevin De Bruyne says Raheem Sterling has earned Manchester City so many points this season with late goals that no one is going to mind his big miss in the 1-1 draw with Burnley.
Sterling has a personal best 19 goals already this season, including late winners against Bournemouth, Feyenoord, Huddersfield Town and Southampton.
But the England international missed a glorious chance from two yards against Burnley minutes before Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s 82nd minute equaliser saw City drop points for just the fourth time in the Premier League this season.
“[Sterling] has scored I think seven late winners for us this season so we are not going to say anything about [the miss],” De Bruyne told reporters.
“I’m always confident if you create chances for your strikers in the right places it will happen.”
City had 20 shots in total against the Clarets and De Bruyne admitted they were punished for not being clinical enough.
“We’re disappointed of course. Some of our play was exceptional, we dominated but didn’t score our chances and you get punished by a team that really stuck to their gameplan,” the Belgium international said. “They did everything they could to create something out of nothing and to contain some our play.
“That’s why for me it was exceptional the way we still managed to get out, the way we created chances from everywhere, right from the goalkeeper — but then you don’t want to miss in front of an open goal.
“So we’re disappointed but the performance was sufficient to make sure we’ll win more games than draw them in the future.
“You have to look at it and think we are in a position where we can almost afford to have a little bit of a learning sting, if you like. But at the same time many of the players in our team have been doing just that — scoring important goals, last minute goals.
“It takes a lot of personality to do that. So personally I wouldn’t worry too much but it’s always good to have a reminder.”
De Bruyne has missed only three of City’s 39 games in all competitions and he concedes he was feeling tired during Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Burnley.
“I was feeling it from the first minute,” he said. “I’ve said it before – you feel great for 10 games, then you feel OK for 10 games, and then the rest you feel like s—.”
“You know, we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do. We’ve only got 15 or 16 players available at the moment so we need to get through it.”
Injuries to Benjamin Mendy, Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane, John Stones, David Silva, Fabian Delph, Phil Foden and Lukas Nmecha restricted City boss Pep Guardiola to just six substitutes at Turf Moor.
City at least will have some respite this week as they are not in action again until Leicester visit the Etihad Stadium next Saturday.
That is the Premier League leaders’ longest gap between games since the November international break and Guardiola has decided to give all his squad three days off.
“It will do us a lot of good,” said De Bruyne. “I’m going away, it doesn’t matter where!”
Captain Vincent Kompany, who also felt the break “couldn’t come at a better time,” agreed that City did play well.
Kompany said: “We’re disappointed, of course, but some of our play was exceptional. We dominated but didn’t score our chances and you get punished by a team that really stuck to their gameplan.
“It was exceptional the way we still managed to get out, the way we created chances from everywhere, right from the goalkeeper — but then you don’t want to miss in front of an open goal.
“So, we’re disappointed but the performance was sufficient to make sure we’ll win more games than draw them in the future.”
Jonathan is ESPN FC’s Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.