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Kevin De Bruyne: Belgium need tactical improvement and can't just rely on skill

Roberto Martinez feels Kevin De Bruyne is capable of achieving what Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have in their careers.
Kevin De Bruyne says he's more interested in winning trophies with Manchester City than chasing after personal accolades.

Kevin De Bruyne has questioned Belgium coach Roberto Martinez's tactics, saying the country cannot just rely on their individual talents at the World Cup.

Belgium were held to a 3-3 draw by Mexico in Brussels on Friday, and Manchester City star De Bruyne said the result was a wake-up call.

Martinez has a talented squad including Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens, Yannick Carrasco, Thibaut Courtois and Jan Vertonghen to choose from.

But De Bruyne said they must improve to have any chance of success in Russia, telling Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Niewus: "Mexico were just tactically better.

"Their system made our five defenders sit deep and we were swimming in midfield -- it was five against seven.

"We still put too much [emphasis] on our talents. As long as we don't have a good tactical system, we will have difficulties against countries like Mexico. It's a pity that we have not yet found a solution.

"Of course we play with a system that is in principle very defensive, but it is filled with many attacking players who want the ball.

"Then you have a bit of a problem, like against Mexico. It was a match in which we had very little possession and everyone in a system that doesn't really fit.

"We now know that something must be changed against such teams. But, eventually, Martinez decides. I think the trainer has to find a solution so that we can avoid such situations as against Mexico in the future."

Martinez has no doubts about the quality of De Bruyne, and told ESPN FC that the 26-year-old could reach the level of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

But De Bruyne played down any comparisons with the two stars who have dominated the Ballon d'Or award for the last nine years.

"I don't care. I really don't care," he told Sky Sports. "People compare too many players with each other, you have too many good players in the world.

"In the end, I will only win individual awards if I win something with City.

"I try to play the way I am playing at the moment, and obviously the way we [City] are playing is very positive.

"Everybody is in the same spirit. We want to play the football that we play."

Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.


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