(Reuters) – Manchester City panicked a couple of times against Aston Villa on Sunday before going on to claim their fourth Premier League title in five years with a 3-2 comeback win, midfielder Kevin de Bruyne said.
Liverpool had looked set to snatch the title with City trailing 2-0 before Ilkay Gundogan scored, Rodri equalised and then Germany midfielder Gundogan grabbed the winner in an incredible five-minute spell.
“Maybe (City panicked) a couple of times — but it’s normal in this situation,” De Bruyne, who was named the Premier League’s Player of the Season on Saturday, said.
“But we tried to stay as calm as possible but sometimes it was a little bit panicked.
“At 2-1, it just changed the whole situation for me. The stadium, the atmosphere, the players change. We never looked back from there. You just go for it – you’re losing anyway.”
Halftime substitute Oleksandr Zinchenko dedicated the title win to his home country of Ukraine and draped the trophy in the Ukrainian flag during the celebrations.
“I’m so proud to be Ukrainian and I’d love to one day bring this title to Ukraine because they deserve it,” Zinchenko told British media. “(The support) means everything for me – I would die for these people and their support.
“What people gave me and what they have done for me during this period, the toughest period of my life, I am so appreciative and I will never forget this, never in my life.”
Midfielder Jack Grealish, who moved to City from Villa for 100 million pounds ($125.37 million) in August, hailed his side’s “unbelievable” achievement.
“Growing up I always wanted to play in the Premier League and when I did the next thing was to get my hands on the trophy,” Grealish said. “I was nearly crying when I had it in my hand.”
($1 = 0.7976 pounds)
(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)