Pep Guardiola heaped praise on Kevin De Bruyne after his virtuoso first-half display in the Premier League Asia Trophy final in Shanghai.
The Belgian missed large chunks of last season due to injury, playing just 32 times in all competitions, but returned to deliver a man-of-the-match performance in the FA Cup final in May.
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And he’s picked up where he left off on the Club’s summer tour of Asia, with his performance in the shoot-out defeat to Wolves at the Hongkou Stadium drawing admiration from the boss.
“He was top,” Guardiola said. “Unfortunately last season we miss him a lot. We did incredibly well without him but we are stronger with him.
“Last season he had no holidays, this team he has had time to rest. Hopefully he can reach his level. He is very positive in his mind. He made an incredible first half, really good.”
It was a reminder, if one were needed, of his ability to play perfectly-weighted passes from anywhere on the pitch.
Guardiola says despite his injury-affected 2018-19 season, De Bruyne’s belief has never wavered.
“He’s a guy who likes to play football - a huge competitor,” Guardiola said. “He never loses confidence in himself.
“For the physical condition and don’t get injured, that is the most important thing for him tonight. He is a player who is incredible.”