The Belgian, so influential in our win at the Bernabeu, has missed our last two games and remains a doubt for tomorrow night’s clash with Arsenal, but the Manchester City boss is keen to see his playmaker back in action as soon as possible.
Despite acknowledging that the Champions League and FA Cup are now this season’s priorities, Guardiola would prefer to get De Bruyne back playing rather than saving his return for Madrid’s visit to the Etihad Stadium.
“Of course, Real Madrid and Newcastle are the more important targets,” he said.
“But to arrive at them the player has to play the days before and get the rhythm of the team, like we maintained in the last game, so it continues in that way.
“You cannot go from 0 to 10 in one game. Definitely [I’d prefer him to play before Madrid].”
The boss believes City’s No.9 is a viable option on the left wing, a role he shone in during our 2-1 win over Madrid, and likened his ability to Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, another striker who has proved effective on the flanks.
“They [Aguero and Jesus] can play together,” Pep added. “Gabriel can adapt perfectly in that way.
“He doesn’t play really wide. He plays a little bit more inside like, for example, how Arsenal play with Aubameyang.
“Gabriel can play perfectly in that position. In the games he’s played, he’s played really well.
“Sometimes we need more specific wingers in that position. It depends on the quality of the full back, as well.
“Someone has to attack a defence like the last game we had; Sheffield Wednesday defended with five players and so deep.
“You have to make the pitch wide and if you don’t it is more difficult.”