Kevin De Bruyne receives a message from Pep Guardiola following the manager of Man City’s ‘back to basics’ order

Manchester City Guardiola

When it comes to playing his way back into shape, Kevin De Bruyne has Pep Guardiola’s support, but the Manchester City boss warned that he won’t be guaranteed a starting berth if he isn’t performing at his best.

De Bruyne recently missed two games due to sickness, but he bounced back to start against Bristol City last week. Guardiola referred to his first-half performance as “quiet,” but the Belgian player improved after the interval and scored a beautiful goal.

But, the manager instructed his star to return to “basics” in practise this week after De Bruyne looked a little sluggish against Newcastle the previous week. On Saturday, when City will be visiting Crystal Palace, Guardiola expects De Bruyne to recover from a slight lapse in performance.

“He’s always ready. Kevin, like with Gundo and John [Stones], are the players who remain from day one when we arrive,” Guardiola explained, while leaving open the possibility of rotation at Selhurst Park.

“I know him quite well and how important he is. At the same time there are moments, ups and downs, like happens with Phil [Foden] and other players, they compete with other players. In one part of the season one player can be better than the other and another can be worse, it’s normal.”

“I try to decide the best to win this specific game, selection is always like this. In these seven years, Kevin has been Kevin and some more. All the time, when he didn’t play it was for rest or tired or injured.”

After declaring De Bruyne ready for those fixtures, Guardiola insisted City’s only focus is on the trip to London to take on Palace.

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Guardiola tells De Bruyne and Co to focus on trip to Crystal Palace

“Absolutely not [thinking about the Champions League], we’re playing for the Premier League. Most important is the Premier League. Apart from when we come from one long week, good rest, two days off, try to play good. It’s not about thinking about Leipzig.”

“Crystal Palace deserve a lot of attention for their qualities. [Jordan] Ayew, [Wilfried] Zaha, [Eberech] Eze, they have a lot of weapons up front. The quality they have up front is unbelievable. We have to pay attention, small pitch, the crowd support the team. [Joachim] Andersen incredible in the build-up and long balls. The set pieces, they score two goals here from set pieces. We have to be careful, the players know it.”

Guardiola also mentioned that Erling Haaland’s colleagues like De Bruyne are still getting used to playing with him and that it would take some time for them to learn when to look for their striker’s runs.

Pep Guardiola’s take

He said: “In some moments in the past we had Gabriel [Jesus] there, Sergio [Aguero], we didn’t have the attention to look for them a lot. Now we have to try to do it. Now we know he’s there, he’s a good target for us. The first vision has to be for him.”

“Before was more right-left until the right moment. Sometimes when you are too quick you are less precise, lose the ball, allow the transitions for the opponent. This balance to find in the right way, because when he starts to run with the power, the tendency is to give him the ball because he’s going to score a goal.” on Manchester City’s and De Bruyne.

“But what happened against Newcastle a few times, the transitions with Joelinton and the players they have. At the same time, it’s not just for passing to him, we did well against Bournemouth for example, this balance is about time. He gives us a lot.”

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