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City need De Bruyne's goals as well as assists - Guardiola

By Dom Farrell

Manchester, July 27: Pep Guardiola is encouraged to see Manchester City's assist king Kevin De Bruyne scoring more goals himself.

The Belgium midfielder set up Raheem Sterling in Sunday's 5-0 win over relegated Norwich City, claiming his 20th assist of the campaign to match Thierry Henry's single-season record in the Premier League.

De Bruyne also netted twice himself – particularly sumptuously before half-time – as City broke through the 100-goal barrier.

It meant he finished with 13 Premier League goals, his most prolific return in England's top flight.

"We know the assists and the quality he has for this but we need his goals," Guardiola told a post-match news conference.

"Today he scored two brilliant goals. Of course, the first one is special."

Guardiola had no concerns over De Bruyne's pursuit of an individual record harming his overall performance.

"We tell them, play simple, play as you know. Don't be focused too much on achieving it because it will come along," he said.

"He made one assist but could have easily broken the record. Now he is going to share it with Titi Henry. He played really good.

"The individual target, the focus to achieve something. It's good. Athletes always want to overcome and be better and benefit for the team."

De Bruyne was not the only City player to chalk up leading individual numbers this season, with Ederson's 16th clean sheet winning him the Premier League Golden Glove.

It is an honour Guardiola felt the Brazil international earned in a sharp outing at the Etihad Stadium – his save in a one-on-one from Teemu Pukki particularly impressive.

"It's so nice, but I think today he deserves it because he made two incredible saves. Without him it would not be possible," Guardiola added.

"He made a really good season and he deserves what he has done. We are so happy for this award."

David Silva was granted a warm ovation from his team-mates and City's backroom staff when he made way on his final Premier League performance.

The former Spain playmaker still has a shot at Champions League glory next month as he brings down the curtain on a glorious decade in Manchester and, when fans are allowed back into stadiums, Guardiola is sure Silva will be granted a more fitting farewell.

"It was the smallest standing ovation of all time," he chuckled. "He will come back to receive the standing ovation he deserves from our fans.

"I have the feeling that they want to do it. I think what the players and staff have done shows the gratitude and honour that he has to have for these incredible 10 years he has done at this club.

"We wanted to say thank you for what he has done for this club."

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Story first published: Monday, July 27, 2020, 0:50 [IST]
Other articles published on Jul 27, 2020
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