Is the Belgian midfielder slowly losing his place in Guardiola’s tactical plans?
Pep Guardiola has suggested Kevin De Bruyne might start more games on the bench for Manchester City.
The Belgian star has been a crucial part of Guardiola’s plans at Man City ever since the manager’s arrival at Etihad in 2016. Last season, De Bruyne won his second PFA Player of the Year award after claiming the Premier League title for the fourth time.
However, since signing Erling Haaland in the summer, Guardiola has slightly changed his tactics against certain types of opponents.
De Bruyne remained an unused substitute in City’s 4-2 win over Tottenham. He returned to Guardiola’s lineup in City’s 3-0 victory against Wolves, providing an assist for Haaland’s first goal.
Guardiola has no doubts about De Bruyne’s qualities but admits he might not use him in every game.
“Seven years we know each other very well,” the Man City boss said. “I know when Kevin is ready and sometimes not. It’s normal. There are many games. Sometimes we need another type of player in that position. Sometimes we need more players in the boxes and Kevin struggles a bit right there.
“Kevin, always you expect him to assist the ball – but how many assists does he provide that were not converted, don’t count as an assist but really is? Big competition in the squad. Some games need a specific player that Kevin for example struggles a little bit.”