Pep Guardiola has admitted that Kevin De Bruyne is so crucial to Manchester City’s set-up that he cannot be given time off.
De Bruyne has been the brain behind almost every Manchester City’s breathtaking play over the past few years. Indeed, 16 goals and 23 assists in all competitions last season only illustrates how talismanic he can be when enjoying his game. The 29-year-old playmaker has carried his predatory form into 2020/21, already racking up two goals and ten assists in 15 competitive appearances.
Though De Bruyne continues to deliver week in, week out, Pep Guardiola’s men have been going through a rough period. They have picked up only five victories from their opening 12 top-flight matches (D5, L2), drawing the last two with Manchester United and WBA, respectively. Ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash against Southampton, Manchester City sit eight points adrift of league-toppers Liverpool.
Kevin De Bruyne has been named as the Premier League Playmaker, the Premier League Player of the Season, the PFA Player of the Year, UEFA Midfielder and is in the FIFPRO XI.— ً (@Goatmidfielder) December 17, 2020
Out of this world 🇧🇪 🙌 pic.twitter.com/vFSfzI1sXO
City brace themselves for a hectic schedule towards the end of the calendar year. The Sky Blues are going to take on Newcastle United, Everton, and Chelsea following the abovementioned match against Southampton. Given a sizeable gap between them and Liverpool, Manchester City will have to start gathering momentum to keep their hopes of regaining the Premier League title alive.
As such, De Bruyne’s presence will be required now more than ever, with Guardiola heavily relying upon his headline performer to dig the team out of trouble. The Belgian star has made ten starts in the league already. But, despite raising concerns about his fatigue, he will have to step up and take responsibility for City’s upcoming challenges.
Guardiola has confirmed De Bruyne’s indispensability at the Etihad, insisting he will continue to play his undisputed starter in the games to come.
Football: City's de Bruyne too important to be rested in busy schedule – Guardiola https://t.co/UZJMdSL97h— The Straits Times (@straits_times) December 18, 2020
“No, right now, no,” replied Guardiola when asked if he would give De Bruyne a break amid the congested schedule, according to the Daily Mirror.
“He is so important for us. He is not going to rest. He rested in the Champions League, he rested in other games – in previous weeks, he just played the Premier League games, and right now we need him.”
Manchester City will lock horns with Southampton at St. Mary’s Stadium, where they lost 1-0 last season. Adding to Guardiola’s fears, the Saints have won four of their five previous top-flight matches at home (L1), beating their opponents to nil on each occasion.