Guardiola: That was the best De Bruyne has played in a long time

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola hailed star man Kevin De Bruyne as a fighter after his star showing against Leicester City.

Published : Dec 22, 2019 11:50 IST

Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne.
Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne.

Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne.

Kevin De Bruyne had one of his best games for a long time as Manchester City came from behind to beat Leicester City, according to manager Pep Guardiola. Jamie Vardy's 17th Premier League goal of the season put the Foxes ahead at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

But ex-Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez's deflected shot and Ilkay Gundogan's penalty turned the game around before the break and Gabriel Jesus tapped home at the back post to seal the points. De Bruyne set up Jesus for that second-half clincher and Guardiola believes the Belgium international's performance was even better than his star showing against Arsenal last time out.

"Kevin De Bruyne is a fighter and he helps us keep up the intensity when he's playing further up he helps the press a lot," Guardiola told BBC Sport. "That was the best he has played in a long time. We created a lot and played incredibly well with the ball. It's impossible to do anything to stop goals like that - they are so good. Guys like [Youri] Tielemans, they are so good at passing."

READ | Man City 3-1 Leicester: Gundogan, Jesus complete comeback for Guardiola's side

"But we were incredibly aggressive up front to stop them playing and we did well playing simple one-two touch and then pass. I like to watch my team play well so of course, it's better when they win. We reviewed the last games against Arsenal and Oxford [United in the EFL Cup] and we struggled a little bit so today was a good example about how we can play."

Leicester, second in the table, is still a point ahead of City but manager Brendan Rodgers accepts the match was a learning experience for the Foxes.

"I thought they were very, very good and the big teams can perform at that level," Rodgers told Sky Sports. "We were disappointed first half, but second half we were a bit better, we had a bit more courage to get on the ball and play. Tonight is a good lesson for us of the work we still need to do to get to the level City are at."

"We took the lead when we weren't playing that well. Jamie was outstanding as was Kasper [Schmeichel] - they showed their level in a big game tonight. We always knew it would be difficult coming here, with the level they're at. We kept going and fighting but it wasn't the best of ourselves. City were outstanding. Evenings like this are humbling and good for you, because our young squad can learn from it."

- Guardiola: Thank you so much to the players for following me -

Guardiola thanked his Man City players for sticking with him after a vital Premier League comeback win at home to Leicester. Guardiola's preparations for Saturday's clash at the Etihad Stadium were disrupted by the departure of his assistant Mikel Arteta, who left the club to take charge at Arsenal.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

Arteta was part of the backroom staff that has led City to two highly impressive Premier League title successes but it won 3-1 against the Foxes in its first game without the 37-year-old. Guardiola, who has confirmed he will not immediately seek a replacement for Arteta on his staff, was grateful for a high-class display from his side.

"We made an incredible performance with the ball and without the ball," Guardiola told a news conference. "Having Vardy there is always dangerous, but we were always at a high, high level.  Thank you so much to the players for following me."

"We try and convince the players this is the team we want to be. Against a team like Leicester we scored three goals and we could have scored more. That means a lot for the quality and mentality."

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