ABU SAMRA, Qatar : Belgium playmaker Kevin De Bruyne said on Friday that he needed to reign in his frustrations at the World Cup after several belligerent displays in his side’s first game but said sometimes his emotions got the better of him.
De Bruyne, 31, waved his arms in frustrations in the direction of coach Roberto Martinez in the first half of his country’s opening Group F match at the tournament in Qatar as Canada dominated the midfield exchanges.
He did not celebrate when Michy Batshuayi scored a counter-attack goal near the end of the first half that eventually ensured an unconvincing 1-0 win for Belgium on Wednesday. He was also involved in a finger-wagging exchange with teammate Toby Alderweireld as Belgium delivered an under-par performance, despite being second in the FIFA rankings.
“I do know that my reactions are not always good. I also look for moments afterwards to find that peace but people know that it’s my way to help the team play better and get more out of the game,” he told a news conference at Belgium’s team base on Friday, 48 hours ahead of their next match, against Morocco.
“But of course, I also have to learn to react in a better way. Every now and then the emotions spill over but that’s also part of the game.”
The Manchester City player said it was difficult to expect him to replicate his club form even if he wanted to do so on the World Cup stage.
“We can’t play in the same way as Manchester City. As a national team you have to adapt to the players you have around you. Does it frustrate me sometimes? Yes, but I should show that less although that is the perfection I strive for.”
De Bruyne’s prickly side is also well-known at club level. “With Kevin sometimes it depends on his mood, sometimes he is a little bit like this … Grrrrr …. when he is a little bit not happy,” City manager Pep Guardiola has said previously.
On Friday, De Bruyne said he was delighted to hear that Guardiola had signed a new deal with the club. “It makes my life a lot easier. The way he leads the team is very clear and I feel very comfortable with him. Both our contracts run to 2025, so that makes it easier. I could not be happier.”