De Bruyne scored City's equaliser as Pep Guardiola's side came from behind to beat Chelsea 2-1 at Etihad Stadium.
Having missed much of last season through injury, De Bruyne has been in scintillating form this campaign, scoring three league goals and leading the way in the division with nine assists.
At 28, the Belgium playmaker – who signed for City in 2015 – now identifies himself as a guiding light for a team who saw Vincent Kompany return to Anderlecht this year and are set to see David Silva move on at the end of the season.
"I push myself [to be] the best I can be. If you set goals to be the best, you always push yourself hard," De Bruyne said.
"That's what I did when I was a teenager and that's what I'm doing now. It's a little bit more important that the team wins now, but I just work hard.
"The main thing is that I'm helping the team, I'm helping these guys, leading them, especially the younger guys. I know I can make a difference to them.
"I just push myself. There's nobody who puts more pressure on me than myself. It's not difficult for me to work hard and to push myself to the limit. Sometimes you have good games, some other times you don't, but even when you play average or bad, you still have to do your job and help the team.
"I'm a midfielder, so I'm there to help the team the best I can and make the team play good together. That's my main focus."
City's win followed on from a 3-1 defeat at Anfield prior to the international break – a result that already threatens to look pivotal in the title race given Liverpool's relentless run of results.
"We work really hard and the main thing, when you lose a game, is to come back with a good reaction," De Bruyne added.
"That's what we have always done over the last four or five years. I think it's very rare to see us lose two games in a row. We have a lot of quality to make the difference."