De Bruyne who had been sidelined with a knee ligament injury since late January, scored a superb goal and might have had a hat-trick before being subbed just before the hour.
His impressive comeback was great news for City boss Manuel Pellegrini, ahead of Wednesday night’s Champions League quarter-final clash against Paris Saint-Germain.
“De Bruyne’s a very important player, who was playing very well before his injury,” said the City boss.
“He scored one and playing forward gave him more space and not work as hard in midfield. It was good for him, and a timely boost for him and us.”
Samir Nasri also came off the bench to prove his fitness after a long lay-off as City cemented fourth place.
“I’m very pleased because we won, scored four goals and played the way I like to see us play,” added Pellegrini.