Kevin De Bruyne is fully fit despite not playing against Borussia Monchengladbach in midweek and there are no concerns over the fact he has not yet signed a contract extension, says Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.
The Belgium playmaker returned from a hamstring injury sustained last month to start in last weekend’s 1-0 win over Arsenal in the Premier League.
However, De Bruyne was an unused substitute as City earned a commanding 2-0 lead in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie against Gladbach.
Guardiola, though, insists there is nothing untoward about the fact he did not feature versus the Bundesliga side.
“He’s fully fit. He was fully fit against Gladbach as well. I will not say anything different,” Guardiola told a news conference previewing this weekend’s clash against West Ham.
“He is a key player for us. In the last part of the season, he will be so important.”
City and De Bruyne are reported to have been in talks over a new contract for several weeks but as yet an agreement has not yet been reached.
However, with De Bruyne’s deal running until June 2023, Guardiola is relaxed about the situation.
“I don’t know why it’s taking Kevin long to sign a new contract, but I’m not involved and he still has two or three years on his current contract,” he added.
PEP on @DeBruyneKev He’s fully fit. He was fully fit against Gladbach as well.
I will not say anything different.
He is a key player for us. In the last part of the season, he will be so important.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 26, 2021
City have been on a phenomenal run of form, winning 19 straight games across all competitions following their latest success against Gladbach.
After that win, Guardiola was asked what has contributed to City’s success to which he replied “we have a lot of money to buy a lot of incredible players” in what was seen as a dig at detractors who claim he and the team’s success has been due to the club’s financial muscle.
Guardiola said it was not a sarcastic comment, pointing to the spending power of other European heavyweights who have enjoyed periods of success.
The Catalan did, though, say the ability to spend is only part of the jigsaw.
“When you achieve what Manchester City achieves in four years, winning a lot of games it is because we have to have top players,” he added.
“You can win one title with average players. To win a lot of titles, you need top players and top players cost money. That was my reflection.
“It was not sarcastic, it was the truth. When Man United, Milan, Celtic, Rangers, Barcelona or Real Madrid win more titles, it is because they have more money than the other clubs. Every manager has his own way.
“We have this [spending] history behind us. It will always be with us. Not just one journalist, many. The only reason why we win is the money should be true. We accept that. Other clubs have a higher budget than us but we have to live with this.
“We have an incredibly strong organisation, backroom staff, work ethic in all departments is incredible – as it was at Barcelona and Bayern. It is not just me talking about myself. All the departments in the club are a machine.
“The last four seasons, we’ve won a lot of titles, you have to have top players. It is impossible to do it and sustain it. Top players cost, but when people say the only reason why you win is money you accept and try to do better. It comes for us.”