Pep Guardiola has spoken of the key role he hopes Kevin De Bruyne will have in this season’s title race.
The Spaniard has not been able to call on his vital play maker in the first half of this campaign, which has contributed to his side losing ground on Premier League leaders Liverpool.
However, the Belgian is now nearing full fitness and the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola is under no illusion as to his importance to the side.
‘I said many times how important Kevin is for us. Without him, last season would maybe not have been possible.’’ Guardiola told reporters after his sides 7-0 FA Cup romp over Rotherham.
‘So far we have done incredible in terms of results, but we have an opponent (Liverpool) that has done better. Fifty points is incredible, it is huge.
‘But they are an opponent that has done better than us without him.
‘Now he is back he will be fresh in the mind and the legs, and is going to help give us extra in the creativity in the last third, in the fight. Today he was our captain and he showed us why.’
Manchester City will hope to have the services of De Bruyne for the rest of the season as they look to keep up the pressure on Liverpool.
Momentum has swung somewhat back in City’s favour after a 2-1 victory over their title rivals last Thursday, and Guardiola will relish having such a vital member of his midfield back in contention. De Bruyne could well prove to be instrumental to their title defence in 2019.