Pep Guardiola is one of the most successful soccer masterminds ever, but he’s also faced a lot of criticism for the way he handles some of his players.
He likes to rotate a lot, especially depending on matchups. Hence, more often than not, he takes the momentum out of some players by changing their position or simply sending them to the bench depending on what he thinks the team needs at any given time.
And now that Kevin de Bruyne is finally back at full strength and he thrived during City’s 3-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk, Pablo Zabaleta seemed to take a slight shot at the Spaniard for the lack of playing time he’s given him to start the season:
“Good to see some of the players like Kevin De Bruyne. You see what he brings to that team, he was just absolutely outstanding. We usually see two or three assists from him or maybe goals but what he brings on the ball and off the ball is just fantastic so he really makes a difference. He has to play every single game at the moment,” the Argentinean told BT Sport.
Moreover, the former left-back went on to analyze Guardiola’s tactics and lauded de Bruyne’s versatility to continue claiming he shouldn’t be sent back to the bench further in the season:
“Normally when they play a 4-3-3 formation, he (de Bruyne) always plays on the inside but in this game, it looked at times like it was a 4-4-2.”The picture is just perfect and you see Kevin de Bruyne playing like a striker. Normally we see him play deeper and just play through balls and that but I think he was in a different position, further forward on the pitch. He’s a player who can adapt to different positions. And with all the runs he does, his work-rate off the ball is fantastic,” he concluded.
The Belgian has been one of City’s most influential players of the last couple of years, but his nagging pains and injuries kept him on the shelf for some time, and perhaps it’ll take him some time to go back to the team’s starting XI.