Kevin De Bruyne has praised the impact of Manchester City team-mate Fernandinho ahead of the Brazilian’s return from suspension against West Ham on Wednesday.
The 30-year-old has missed the last four games after being sent off against Burnley at the start of January, but is likely to be included in Pep Guardiola’s squad for the trip to London Stadium.
And with City sitting fifth in the Premier League, De Bruyne is looking forward to his return as his side look to keep their distant title hopes alive.
“Obviously we’ve missed him,” the Belgium international told the club’s website.
“He’s been an important player throughout his time at City and he plays a pivotal role for us in midfield and helps keep everything organised, plus he’s very good on the ball.
“Now he’s served his ban and is available for us again so it’s a big boost for the team because he’s missed seven games this season through suspension.
“I think Fernandinho’s one of the best holding midfielders I’ve ever played with and it’s worth remembering that he’s 30 years-old – incredible that he has so much energy – you don’t see that everywhere in players who are 30 so we are very lucky to have him.”
City go into the game on the back of a comfortable 3-0 FA Cup win at Crystal Palace, but they have failed to win either of their last two league outings leaving them 12 points off leaders Chelsea.
Despite their title ambitions appearing to be over, De Bruyne is confident that his side can put a good run together after a frustrating period.
“It’s just how it goes sometimes,” he added.
“I think we’re playing much better than we did last season but then you play like we did against Tottenham and you only come away with a 2-2 draw despite completely outplaying them for 90 minutes.
“We played so well but only got a point and that’s how it’s been going for us this year so it’s a little bit frustrating. The important thing is we are creating chances so the goals will come.
“Hopefully we can beat West Ham on Wednesday and then put a bit of a run together in the coming weeks.”
City beat the Hammers 3-1 at home in August.
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