Manchester City

Pep Guardiola delighted with Kevin De Bruyne during Leeds mauling

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
De Bruyne showed signs of returning to his best
De Bruyne showed signs of returning to his best / Alex Livesey/GettyImages
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Pep Guardiola heaped praise on Kevin De Bruyne following his man of the match performance in Manchester City's 7-0 win over Leeds United.

De Bruyne has struggled to hit his stride this season due to several niggling injuries but he shook off that rustiness on Tuesday night, bagging a brace in his side's comprehensive victory.

Speaking after the game, Guardiola revealed he had been delighted with what he saw from the Belgian.

"Kevin trained the last two days," said the boss. "He had a lack of rhythm against Wolves, but that is normal.

"It is not easy to come back from the bench. He trained really well the last two days. This game was more open and in transitions.

"Kevin is the best (in games like this). Sometimes he struggles when the team sets up deep like Wolves did, but we are so pleased.

"We need him. We have been together for six seasons. We know each other quite well. What he has done for me is amazing. We need him. Step by step he will come back.

"He struggled at the start of the season, he lost the rhythm because of Covid and hopefully now he can continue this rhythm because we need him."

De Bruyne also spoke to the media after the victory, admitting it felt good to be back.

"Obviously, there has been a lot happening this year that has been out of my control so the only thing I can do is try to work hard and come back as quick as possible," he said.

"I think we played incredibly well, especially with the way they press I think we found the right time to attack them.

"When it is three or four-nil up it gets tougher for them and they try to keep it a little more tight in the second half but I think we created enough chances to score a lot more." 

The victory extended City's lead at the top of the Premier League table to four points, though closest challengers Liverpool and Chelsea both have a game in hand. De Bruyne challenged his teammates to maintain their standards over the festive period as the title race heats up.

"We need to maintain the good level and try to win game by game," he explained. "It is a hell of a competition but even outside the top three, it is very hard to win every game.

"You saw a lot of games like Wolves and West Ham where you win with one goal difference. It is still going to be a hell of a race this year but we will try to be there."


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