Pep Guardiola criticises Kevin De Bruyne and explains what midfielder needs to do
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Pep Guardiola has given his honest opinion of Kevin De Bruyne's recent form, after dropping him to the bench for three games, and called on his midfielder to get the 'simple things' right.
Normally by this point of the season, Guardiola can be starting to get the Brasso out in readiness for another league winner's medal for Manchester City that he'll have to polish.
At very worst they might be in a tight battle with Liverpool for the title but this time things are very different, with Arsenal leading the way by five points.
Time is certainly ticking on City's charge, that's a pun about Arsenal's big clock picture from the weekend, with just 11 games to go, although they do have to face the Gunners.
One problem for the reigning champions is the form of De Bruyne, despite him still being the league's top assister so far this season.
The Belgian's recent drop has seen him start three of the previous seven league games on the bench for Guardiola, including the weekend's narrow win over Crystal Palace.
Some even believe he is no longer the best player in his position in England's top tier, with Jamie Redknapp claiming Martin Odegaard has overtaken the 31-year-old.
Now Guardiola has revealed his frustrations with the former Chelsea man, claiming he wants to see De Bruyne do the 'simple' things better.
"It’s been a difficult season for all of us, me included, due to the World Cup and many things," the City boss said ahead of the Champions League tie with RB Leipzig.
"I’m not going to discover [how good] Kevin [is]. What I’d like – I spoke many times to him – is to go to the easy principles and do it well. He has an incredible ability to make an assist, to score goals and see passes like no one else.
"But I always have the belief that they will increase and get better when the simple things [are done]: like don’t lose the ball, the mobility, the incredible capacity to be active in the movement.
"The simple things: do it again better and better. When this is going to happen the rest will come along."
On Saturday, De Bruyne was brought on after Erling Haaland had scored the winning goal, but before the forward malfunctioned during the celebrations at full time.
His partnership with Haaland certainly started well this season but the Norwegian's role in the team has been questioned at times, perhaps because his partner stopped assisting him so often.
With only five points separating City from a third title in-a-row, you'd still be foolhardy to rule them out, especially if their Belgian talisman can return to top form.
Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports/Alamy
Topics: Football, Manchester City, Premier League, Pep Guardiola, Kevin De Bruyne