Guardiola’s side were given an extra week off prior to starting their Premier League season in September, but their tally of 12 points from their opening eight games was their worst start to a top-flight campaign since 2008-09.
First they face rivals Manchester United on Wednesday in the Carabao Cup semi-finals – chasing a fourth consecutive triumph in the competition – and De Bruyne has put their early struggles down to a lack of proper preparation owing to a condensed pre-season.
“I think at the beginning of the season we had many difficulties, many injuries, no pre-season,” De Bruyne said.
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