The Man City midfielder scored twice and assisted once on Sunday against the Red Devils

Kevin De Bruyne has become an unlikely defender of rival Manchester United, with the Manchester City star saying critics of the Red Devils derby performance on Sunday may have been too harsh.

After Manchester City won 4-1, pundits Gary Neville and Roy Keane branded Manchester United a “disgrace” and suggested they gave up at the end of the game.

However, De Bruyne believes his sides decisive victory was simply the result of their ability to overcome Ralf Rangnicks aggressive tactics.

“Its difficult to say [United gave up] when you play a pressing style its very hard to adjust to it so maybe it just seemed like they did give up a little,” De Bruyne told reporters.

“Its very hard to do it for 90 minutes as a team.

“First half it was a bit more difficult, they pressed us a bit higher than they normally do but in the second half we found the spaces where we needed to be.

“I was watching the last 10 minutes and it felt like they were a little bit out, so the spaces got a bit bigger. I wouldnt necessarily say that they gave up, its hard to say that.”

Rangnick and midfielder Scott McTominay also said they didnt believe Manchester United gave up.

“To be honest, I didn’t have the impression that they didn’t try. But it’s difficult against a team like Man City once you are 3-1 down (against) the best team in possession of the ball on the planet,” Rangnick said.

Added McTominay to Sky Sports: “From my point of view, on the pitch, its hard to see whats going on around you but if thats what people are saying then so be it. Theyre all entitled to their own opinion but, for myself, its incredibly disappointing if people think that.”

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