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Pep Guardiola has urged Kevin De Bruyne to focus on the “simple things” amid a dip in form for the star midfielder.
The Belgian has found himself starting on the substitute bench in four of his club’s last nine Premier League matches, with Guardiola clearly not satisfied with the midfielder’s displays in recent months.
The lack of appearances comes despite De Bruyne scoring five goals and registering 18 assists in all competitions this season.
Three assists have come in the Champions League, but the Belgian will by no means be guaranteed a starting role when RB Leipzig visit the Etihad this evening.
Guardiola urges star to focus on the ‘simple things’
Like other Man City stars, De Bruyne finds himself in a constant battle for Guardiola’s approval, with the midfield just one area that is filled with talent.
The manager can pick and choose from the likes of De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Kalvin Phillips.
And the man in the dugout has now urged one of those midfielders to focus on the simple things if he is to return to his best in a Man City shirt, as per BBC Sport.
“It’s been a difficult season for all of us, me included, [because of] the World Cup and many things,” said Guardiola. “I’m not going to discover Kevin. Kevin has an ability to do it. What I’d like – I spoke many times to him – is [for him] 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 belief they will increase and will get better when [players do] the simple things…
“When the simple things are done perfectly and we are in the right moment, the actions to create incredible passes that he – only he – can find, it will be easier, it will be better.”
Guardiola to mix it up against Leipzig?
De Bruyne is enjoying yet another fine campaign for the Manchester outfit, with his versatility shining through in roles as a central or attacking midfielder.
He has also been handed the captain’s armband on occasion, but his lack of game time in recent months has proven that no player is safe from Guardiola’s fierce rotation system.
Sitting five points behind leaders Arsenal, Man City are undoubtedly still in the Premier League title race, but their hugely talented squad means rotation comes easy for the man in the dugout.
After Leipzig make the trip to England, Guardiola will be ready to switch things up again when the club meet Championship outfit Burnley in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.
The Manchester side will, of course, have been frustrated watching rivals Man Utd lift the Carabao Cup, but Guardiola’s men still have three trophies to fight for, with the Champions League perhaps top of the list for the manager and indeed many of his players.
They go into the round of 16 second leg meeting with the German side having drawn the first leg 1-1 last month.
✨ MATCHDAY ✨
A big night of #UCL action at the Etihad 👊#ManCity pic.twitter.com/KQ2IzuTkjN
— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 14, 2023