Pep Guardiola urges Kevin De Bruyne to focus on “simple things” to get back to his best.
The Belgian playmaker is not the most powerful as Manchester City struggle to match the high level of consistency they have built up in recent years.
It’s still relative, with the inspirational De Bruyne still racking up 17 assists in 34 appearances in the treble pursuit this season – three more assists than he has. from 45 games last season
However, Guardiola has come on as a substitute in three of his last seven games in the Premier League. The manager clearly felt the level of one of his big stars dropping.
Guardiola said “It was a difficult season. I would say for all of us, including myself [because of] the World Cup and many other things.
“I’m not going to discover Kevin. Kevin has the ability to do it. What I want – I’ve spoken to him many times – is to go to simple principles. and do it well
“He has an amazing ability to provide assists, score goals and pass the ball like no other. But I always believed that they would add more. and will keep getting better When something as simple as “don’t lose the ball, agility”, incredible ability to move. do even better The rest will follow.
“It’s like Erling (Haaland), I just don’t want him to score goals. and the rest I don’t care He will score goals and he will be involved in the game.
“It’s the same with Kevin. when simple things Completely finished and we are at the right moment. Action to create incredible passes that he – only he – can do. It will be easier and will get better.”
Guardiola was speaking at a press conference to watch the Champions League last 16 second leg against RB Leipzig on Tuesday (live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player).
I am a perfectionist. No matter what I do in football or life. I always want it to be 100%.
“In that regard, if the time comes, that’s what I think. But it’s not necessary right now.
“If I think about it now. I want to stay as high as I can, for as long as possible, but that’s not just my decision.
Guardiola admits his squad still have work to do against Leipzig. which is third in the Bundesliga After both sides drew 1-1 in the first leg of the round of 16 in Germany three weeks ago.
He said: “I always believed in the game. It’s always (tossing) the coin, it may or may not be in your favor. But it’s a knockout game and maybe we need to break more games. Maybe we don’t.
“We’ll see, in the end the game will dictate what we have to do. We will try to adjust some things that might help us have more control and play a little bit better.”
RB Leipzig boss Marco Rose has admitted his side have struggled after suffering an injury.
Bundesliga teams travel to the Etihad Stadium for the second leg of the round of 16 with just 17 players on the field.
Key midfield players Christopher Nkunku and Xaver Schlager were among those unavailable for the German side.
Rose said: “We played against an opponent a few weeks ago and we knew what was going to happen but it sounded simple in theory. In practice against City it was a different football game.
“The first half in Leipzig was terrible. Our defensive line is not bad. But we hardly had possession of the ball. That was the main point.”
“We want to be more intense when we defend. It means we will have more possession. But when we got the ball We need to be more responsible as well.”
“If we press only It will open up a gap for them. But if we defend and don’t invade Sometimes we’ll concede a goal.”
“We have to find the right balance. We need a lot of confidence and courage. And we want the best matches this season.”
On the positive side of Leipzig Spain striker Dani Olmo returned to action after six weeks off in the win over Borussia. Monchengladbach 3-0 last Saturday
“Dani is dealing with the injury pretty well,” Rose said. “He’s still recovering. But he will definitely be a big factor in this game for 25 or 30 minutes.”
“Dani will not be the Dani we know. But he will be useful to us. So we are happy that he is back.”