Manchester City attacking midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has stated that the clashes with the likes of Chelsea are the "most important games" of the season, with the Belgian stating Saturday's 1-0 win will be worth six points come the end of the season.
Going to be crucial come May
It has been an excellent start to the campaign for Pep Guardiola's men as they look to seriously battle for the Premier League title in the Catalan's second season, with The Cityzens currently leading the league standings on goal difference heading into the international break.
Despite having a poor start to the season the Belgian has come into his own, the pressure to perform was heightened on Saturday before their trip to the capital with the injury to star striker Sergio Agüero.
The clash with Antonio Conte's men produced very little in the way of chances but it was De Bruyne's superb effort that separated the two, City failed to win a game against the rest of last season's top four sides and De Bruyne stated post-match that this victory will be crucial come May.
"Last year I think we had big games where I think we didn’t do particularly badly," De Bruyne told mancity.com. "But we had no points to show for it."
“These are the most important games," the Belgian stated. "It’s just three points, but to win these ones, it’s six points in the end."
“You can win all the big games and then lose all the small ones," the 26-year-old proclaimed. "You need to try to be constant."
“Obviously in the end of the season when the gap is minimal and you win these big games," De Bruyne added. "It means a lot."
This one is for you
Agüero's absence wasn't only major that rocked the City camp ahead of their trip to Stamford Bridge, as it was confirmed that full-back Benjamin Mendy would be out until April with a torn ACL.
Mendy became the world's most-expensive defender when he moved to the Etihad Stadium from Monaco in the summer, the Frenchman made a good start but concerns grew when he was taken off early on during the 5-0 win over Crystal Palace.
The full-back was flown to Barcelona for a scan and then surgery when the severity of injury was known, Fabian Delph filled in his role on Saturday and performed well in City's overall excellent performance and he dedicated the win to the 23-year-old.
"That performance was for our team-mate, Benjamin," he said on Mendy. "He sent us a message before the game and we knew we had to do it for him."
Delph concluded: "That win is for you big man."