Pep Guardiola makes Kevin de Bruyne assessment after Man City vs RB Leipzig
Pep Guardiola insists Kevin de Bruyne can be even better after performance vs RB Leipzig
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Pep Guardiola insists Kevin de Bruyne can be even better after performance vs RB Leipzig

Pep Guardiola said Kevin de Bruyne was back to his best during Manchester City’s 7-0 thrashing of RB Leipzig on Tuesday, but insisted that the midfielder can be better.

Erling Haaland grabbed the headlines as his five goals helped City through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League with an 8-1 aggregate win, but it was De Bruyne who pulled the strings in every attack.

After putting in a few sub-par performances in recent weeks, De Bruyne completed the rout and capped a virtuoso performance with a sumptuous injury-time strike.

After the match, Guardiola spoke about the Belgian midfielder.

“He’s a fantastic extraordinary player. The rhythm he played today is the Kevin we know. This season we have not seen him much in that situation because of the World Cup and many things,” Guardiola said in his post-match press conference.

“Kevin is a player for the dynamics. If he doesn’t have the dynamic or movements, he is not a player that can play there.

“He’s not a player who receives the ball in the pockets and can stop. He’s a guy who outside, inside, attack here, attack there. Make the transitions, press high. Building from Bernardo, Erling.

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“[The] intensity we have, this is the player we know. I know Kevin can’t play all the time in that position. You have to understand his quality. When it happens, the assists come free, the goals come free.

“[But] he doesn’t do that after the amount of balls he lost to give up transitions for the opponents [in previous games]. He doesn’t make assists or goals.”

Pep went on to explain what De Bruyne needs to do in order to build on his superb display.

“I am going to discover Kevin De Bruyne? After seven years together, I’m going to tell you how incredible he is? In periods sometimes you are up, lows.

“When Kevin is right, left, moving here, close to central defenders to set the ball, in the box arrive, make the transitions. Kevin is ‘hats off’. But he has to realise.

“Because when that happens, he doesn’t lose balls. He’s aggressive with the ball and helps us to make high press. The people say ‘he has to play KDB all the time’. You think I’m stupid in that level Leipzig are going to play? He would not play in that way.

“You have to sit and realise. Bernardo deserve to play? Gundogan, he’s the best midfielder we have this season. They have to compete with each other and reach the highest level possible. Otherwise another player is going to play.”

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