Men’s Team

Guardiola hails the importance of De Bruyne

LEADING MAN: Kevin De Bruyne was back in action and skippered the Blues against the Millers
Pep Guardiola reiterated the importance of Kevin De Bruyne to the Manchester City cause after the midfielder led the Blues to an impressive 7-0 FA Cup third round rout of Rotherham at the Etihad.

After being an unused substitute in last Thursday’s 2-1 Premier League win over Liverpool, De Bruyne was captain this afternoon and delivered a dominant all-round display.

And though he didn’t get on the score-sheet, the Blues boss said his performance was another reminder of how crucial the Belgian is going to be over the second course of the season with City challenging on four fronts.

“We spoke with him yesterday to play 65/70 minutes for his rhythm and his injury,” said Guardiola.

“He played incredible, created a good amount of chances and has a vision that others aren’t able to see.

“Last season he played incredible minutes but hopefully in the second leg of the season he will help us because we need him. 

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“I said many times. Without him last season maybe it wouldn't have been possible. 

“We try to be a team and so far we have done incredible with results.

“We have to carry on, now he is back and he is now fresh in mind and legs. Today he was our captain and he showed why.”

It was an afternoon of numerous positives for the Blues with Phil Foden registering his first senior goal for the Club at the Etihad, with Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane, Riyad Mahrez, Nicolas Otamendi and Rotherham own-goal sealing our ticket to the fourth round.

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The boss also had warm words of praise for Foden – as well as for right back Kyle Walker – who made his first start since our home game against Crystal Palace just before Christmas. “Today he (Foden) was there and his movement was incredible,” Pep added. “It was 90 minutes for his experience and self-confidence, but of course he must improve.

“If he plays its because we believe he can play, not because he’s a city fan or a nice guy - we believe he can play!

Danilo deserved to play and played well against Southampton, and today Kyle played best game of the season by far.

“It’s difficult for me to choose. I never give Danilo four or five games in a row, and he is an incredible full back but sometimes I’m firm.”

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The Blues boss made eight changes from the side that overcame Liverpool last Thursday and he said he was delighted with the response from the players.

"We took it seriously and do what we have to do to be a great club," Pep continued.

"Have to do our job, and we did it amazingly again. There were eight or nine fresh legs and saw what their mates did on Thursday against Liverpool.

"That’s more important that we are in next round. Everyone was really, really good.

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