Pep Guardiola dubbed Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City’s “important guy” after the midfielder scored four goals in a 5-1 rout of Wolves, and he expressed his enthusiasm at the prospect of managing Erling Haaland next season.
City ran riot at Molineux to reclaim a three-point lead over Liverpool at the top of the Premier League, and they now need just four points from their next two games to win the league for the second time in a row.
De Bruyne became the fourth different player for City to score four goals in a Premier League encounter (following Edin Dzeko, Gabriel Jesus, and Sergio Aguero – who did so three times), as City improved their goal differential, which could prove crucial in the title battle.
City are undefeated in ten Premier League games (eight wins, two draws) and are the only team in English top-flight history to win five straight matches by three or even more goals.
Guardiola’s men also became the first team since Liverpool in December 2019 (a 5-2 win against Everton) to have five or more shots on target while scoring each, owing in large part to De Bruyne’s excellent finishing.
Guardiola praised the midfielder as “amazing” when he hit 19 goals for the season in all competitions, stating he had been City’s most essential player in the run-up.
“The way he’s playing in the last two or three months, especially in the Premier League, has been outstanding. In the Champions League as well,” he said. “He has been our key man in the last part of the season.
“It’s not just what he creates and the goals and everything, I’m happy because he always had a sense for the assists and was so generous, always thinking what’s best for the team.
“But we always tried to push him, [saying] ‘you have to win games, you have to score goals’, and this year I think is his most prolific season in this sense.”
Guardiola praised his team’s character after a strong performance on their first away trip since Madrid.
“Did you have any doubts after what these guys have done in the last five years? They have personality, they have character, they have everything,” he added.
“We were in control, we started really well, scored a goal, and one moment where we didn’t defend the transition properly we conceded a goal [Leander Dendoncker’s equaliser]. After, we found the goal quick and it helped us a lot.”
Guardiola said he was excited to work with the Norway star, who has hit 85 goals in all competitions since joining Dortmund in January 2020, and believes the 21-year-old will have no problem adapting in England.
“It’s a decision for the club to make a good signing for the future, he’ll come for many, many years, hopefully. I’m pretty sure he’ll adapt perfectly to our team, but it will be next season,” he added on Haaland.
“I’m excited in my job and of course, I like to work with good players, because the players make you a good manager.
“Of course, he’s an incredible young talent with a perfect age, and I’m pretty sure we’re going to help him settle as quickly as possible.”