Kevin De Bruyne has admitted that it is almost impossible for Pep Guardiola to keep the entire Manchester City squad happy due to the extraordinary competition for places. Even after winning the league title last season, City did not stay away from the transfer window and brought in the likes of Rodrigo and Joao Cancelo for over £80 million along with right-back Danilo.
Even though there were departures at the Etihad Stadium over the summer, Guardiola still has a huge squad at his disposal. The Manchester City squad is not just capable of challenging for honours in the domestic competitions, but it can also fight for the Champions League. One player who is at an advantage due to the incredible squad strength is Kevin De Bruyne, whose stock has fallen off late due to injuries.
De Bruyne is aware that it is extremely difficult for Guardiola to fit all the players and provide them with equal game time in this early part of the campaign. City do not play until the weekend when the team takes on Bournemouth. This game will be followed by another week without midweek games before the team takes on Brighton at home. The situation only improves when the Champions League starts and the team plays two games per week. Speaking to the Express, De Bruyne said:
“It’s probably impossible [to keep everyone happy]. We already know that. For him, he’s going to get questions after every game. We’re going to get questions if we don’t play. We’ve got used to it I think.”
After featuring in 52 games across all competitions during the 2017-18 campaign, the Belgian has been hit by injuries. He featured in only 19 league matches last season and he has developed a poor streak that could lead others to capitalise on his absence. After a relatively trouble-free summer, the 28-year-old is looking to get back to his best but he knows that his time on the sidelines has allowed opportunities for others to impress the manager.
Admittedly, he is far from his best and a return of just two league goals last season happens to be his worst record since the £55 million move from Middlesbrough in 2015. The numbers can only look up for the Belgian if he manages to stay fit.
City have started the season in positive light after managing to get seven goals in the opening two games. The draw with Spurs was a disappointment since it was dropped points at home, but the Community Shield victory a few weeks ago and the 5-0 thrashing of West Ham are positives to build upon.
In a team that expects to win all major trophies in a single campaign, the players need to be at their peak even if they are not playing regularly. Even if it is not just physically, the players need to be focused mentally.
The touchline bust up between Guardiola and Sergio Aguero hit headlines even as the VAR was trying its best during the game against Spurs. Even though Guardiola tried to downplay the event, this should not affect the team going forward. The pair appeared to go through an angry confrontation in public. On the positive side, the care shown by the two parties will be of huge help.