The Belgium international once again pulled the strings for table-toppers City, providing another couple of assists from midfield to take his league tally to the season to five.
De Bruyne has also chipped in with one goal of his own in the top flight this term, bagging the crucial winner against Chelsea a fortnight ago, and former Citizens boss Hughes believes that the 26-year-old can now be considered among the best on the planet.
"It was difficult from our point of view clearly," he told Sky Sports News. "You don't want to concede the amount of goals we did although some of them were top class and with De Bruyne, you've got a genuine, world-class player in their ranks.
"We found it very difficult to stop his influence on the game and he was a big factor in them being able to take the game away from us. We got back into the game at 3-2, although if we're honest, I think it flattered us at 3-2 but very quickly, we made a few mistakes and they took the game away from us.
"In the end, we were grateful for the referee's whistle. You have to be right on top of your game and get the maximum out of your players in terms of performance levels. You need eights or nines across the board but unfortunately, we didn't get too many of them today."
De Bruyne now has a combined total of 63 goals and assists for City in 100 appearances since joining from Wolfsburg in the 2015 summer transfer window.