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De Bruyne key for city

Guardiola told to pick De Bruyne for City’s crunch clashes

In Summary

• The Belgium playmaker appears to be returning to form at the right time for City after a campaign blighted by fitness issues.

• Man City are still top of the league without him for most of the season and that’s credit to the players, but he makes them a better team.

Kevin De Bruyne (R) of Manchester City in past action
Kevin De Bruyne (R) of Manchester City in past action
Image: FILE

 Danny Murphy does not believe Pep Guardiola can afford to rest Kevin De Bruyne between now and the end of the season.

De Bruyne was surprisingly benched for Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat by Tottenham in the Champions League last week but returned to orchestrate a 3-1 victory against Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday.

The Belgium playmaker appears to be returning to form at the right time for City after a campaign blighted by fitness issues. He played a tremendous through ball for Raheem Sterling to open the scoring for City at Selhurst Park and Murphy believes City need De Bruyne on the pitch as often as possible as they pursue a quadruple.

“Palace help Kevin De Bruyne in the first half - there is lethargy about their performance,” Murphy said on Match of the Day 2. “They are too passive and didn’t lay a glove on City. “De Bruyne has the creativity to open anyone up. Whether a cross, set play or through ball they’re all in the locker.

“Man City are still top of the league without him for most of the season and that’s credit to the players, but he makes them a better team. He’s going to be pivotal for them in these last few weeks of the title race and European run. “Pep’s got a nice problem in mid-week with the quality he has to choose from, but for KDB has to be that first name on the team sheet now.”

City play Tottenham in their return Champions League leg on Wednesday. They then return to Premier League action on a Saturday where they again meet Spurs in Saturday’s early kick-off.