Pep: ‘Give me players like Kevin! One of the best in City’s history’

Pep Guardiola heralded Kevin De Bruyne as one of the best players in Manchester City’s history after seeing him score twice and set up another in their 4-2 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

City were sloppy in the first half and behind to a goal from Jean-Philippe Mateta when De Bruyne stepped up to curl in a beautiful equaliser. After the break he lashed in another and cutback for Erling Haaland to hit the net to help City to an important victory.

His second strike was his 100th for the club in all competitions, while his assist was number 158.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Manchester City

“Ten years in Man City, the numbers, the presence, the consistency has been amazing,” said boss Guardiola in tribute. “One of the best players in all our history of Man City.

“The first goal is unbelievable, the fourth is unbelievable. The assist for Erling. Really, really good.”

Given the way City had played in the first half, with John Stones losing possession for the Palace opener and Rodri twice giving the ball away for big chances for the home team, Guardiola didn’t undervalue the contributions of De Bruyne at Selhurst Park.

“We were not solid like normally we are,” he said. “[Games every] three days, three days, the mental energy we waste, more than physicality, is tremendous. That’s why sometimes that happens.

Kevin De Bruyne celebrates his second goal, Man City's fourth
Kevin De Bruyne celebrates his second goal at Crystal Palace – his 100th for Man City

“Today Kevin won the game. Without Kevin today, maybe we wouldn’t be able to win. We can talk about tactics but give me players like Kevin!”

And Guardiola thinks his top creator is primed for a big end to the season, having missed the first half of it with a hamstring injury.

“He’s been five months out. He’s had good moments in games back. After that he was not maybe at his best, that’s normal. A really, really special talent.

“He is mentally fresh, for sure. I listen to him on the bus, in the locker toom, train station, laughing. The body language dictates a lot how he is. All the players but especially Kevin.”

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky Sports Gary Cotterill and Peter Smith discuss how important it is for Manchester United that Kevin De Bruyne finds form at this stage of the season.

Another key man for City in the run-in will be Haaland, who had gone without a goal in his previous five games for club and country.

The striker had just seven touches in the first half and seemed on course for another quiet afternoon but his tap-in from De Bruyne’s pass can be a launchpad for another scoring spree – and could be perfectly timed with City away to Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday.

“Strikers need goals,” said Guardiola. “We could find him more, especially on the right side. But it’s fine. I’m really pleased.”

City’s top trio revved up for Real Madrid

Kevin De Bruyne celebrates with Erling Haaland after scoring Man City's fourth goal
Kevin De Bruyne celebrates with Erling Haaland after scoring Man City’s fourth goal

Sky Sports’ Peter Smith:

“Goals for Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland and an afternoon off for Phil Foden after his hat-trick against Aston Villa on Wednesday. Man City’s performance in the 4-2 win at Crystal Palace was far from faultless but there are positive signs from their key players as they go into the huge Tuesday night Champions League quarter-final first leg away to Real Madrid.

“The priority on Saturday lunchtime was to maintain their Premier League title push but Foden’s absence – after De Bruyne and Haaland were unused against Villa – was a further indication of how Pep Guardiola is managing the load of his players right now to battle across different competitions. Expect all three to be unleashed in Madrid.

“It is now 25 games unbeaten for Man City in all competitions. The rotation policy is working and once again they are revving up for a big finish. If they are to achieve success on one, two or – incredibly – three fronts they will need their key men to be fresh and at their best. It’s looking good right now…”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *