Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was delighted that Kevin De Bruyne managed to last the full 90 minutes in the 6-1 win over Wycombe Wanderers last night.
The Belgian was handed only his second start of the season in the Carabao Cup, and Guardiola claims that the midfielder has not been 100% since sustaining a facial injury in the Champions League final last season:
De Bruyne recovered to play for his country in the European Championships, only to then pick up ankle ligament damage. Guardiola feels the recovery has been slow and that the midfielder needed time to get back to his best:
“Kevin, no, he needs a proper pre-season, he has been injured since the Champions League final with what (Anthony) Rudiger did, then the European Championships and the national team. He needs rhythm, but that is why it is so good he got 90 minutes, knowing it is still not perfect but step-by-step. Now is the moment to know Kevin is starting to be ready.”
It will be interesting to see whether the 30-year-old plays any part in City’s match against Chelsea on Saturday. The temptation would be to start him in what is a massive game but that seems unlikely, considering he has now played the full 90 in midweek.
Of course, the Citizens have plenty of other options in midfield that can take De Bruyne’s place, including Bernardo Silva, but supporters would much rather have the Belgian international in the starting lineup this weekend.