De Bruyne nearly back to his best - Guardiola

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is getting back to his best after struggling to recover from injuries and COVID-19 earlier this season, says manager Pep Guardiola.

Kevin De Bruyne (centre) celebrates after scoring during the Premier League contest between Manchester City and Leicester City on Sunday.   -  AP

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is getting back to his best after struggling to recover from injuries and COVID-19 earlier in the season, manager Pep Guardiola said.

De Bruyne suffered a double facial fracture in last season’s Champions League final and then hurt his ankle at Euro 2020.

He returned a positive COVID-19 test after Belgium’s World Cup qualifier with Wales in November, and said earlier this month that he was still feeling the after-effects of the virus. However, the Belgian has started City’s last three games and scored three goals.

‘Exceptional player’

“When he is fit, he has something unique in the world. Kevin is an exceptional player,” Guardiola told reporters on Tuesday.

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“He struggled at the beginning of the season and is now much, much better. The Leeds game was really good and Leicester he was really good all game. He is a fighter and a guy who creates goals and assists.”

Guardiola, whose side is six points clear at the top, said the intensity of the schedule and the quality of opponents made the Premier League title so difficult to win. “Right now we have games on December 29 (Brentford) and January 1 (Arsenal), two away fixtures against absolutely difficult, tough opponents. The Premier League is like this,” Guardiola said.

“That is why it is the most satisfying competition if you are able to win it. You play against all the big teams in different circumstances and you have to solve it. It will be no exception in the next two games.”

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