Kevin De Bruyne has earned high praise from manager Pep Guardiola after leading Manchester City to an emphatic 4-0 win over Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday.
De Bruyne opened the scoring and set up Ilkay Gundogan for his side’s fourth goal at the Etihad Stadium, as in-form City made a statement of intent to their title rivals early in Guardiola’s tenure.
Central to the impressive performance was the 25-year-old Belgium international, signed by City from Wolfsburg for big money in August 2015, having been deemed surplus to requirements by Guardiola’s fierce rival Jose Mourinho at Chelsea earlier in his career.
“He [De Bruyne] understands the game, he’s physically strong,” the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach said.
“[He is] aggressive without the ball but especially with the ball, it’s clear he sees absolutely everything. And in front of goal he can make passes, score goals. We are so, so lucky we have Kevin with us.”
Injury plagued club captain Vincent Kompany was named among the substitutes on Saturday as he nears a return from the groin problem that forced him out of Euro 2016.
“I think hopefully Vincent can start to play, to make the first steps,” Guardiola said of the centre-back.
“Hopefully he can help us. We need the whole squad to compete in all the competitions,” he added, as City prepare for four successive away matches.
Guardiola’s side visit Swansea City in consecutive EFL Cup and Premier League fixtures, followed by a Champions League trip to Celtic and a tough Premier League encounter against Tottenham at White Hart Lane in the coming weeks.
And City are set to be without Nolito for some of those domestic games after the Spain centre-forward received a red card for what was deemed by referee Jon Moss to be head-butt on Adam Smith in the 86th minute.
“The referee saw the action, we will have to accept that,” Guardiola said of the costly altercation.
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