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“Nothing absolutely changes” – Pep Guardiola defiantly rejects Kevin De Bruyne claim



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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has swiftly ruled out a potential positional change for Kevin De Bruyne.

The 32-year-old midfielder has hugely boosted Manchester City’s silverware hopes since returning from a long-term absence after hamstring surgery, with the Belgian star directly involved in 10 goals in 10 appearances.

De Bruyne returned against Huddersfield Town in the Emirates FA Cup before making his first Premier League start since August against Burnley at the Etihad Stadium last month.

The midfielder scored within 10 minutes of his first UEFA Champions League appearance of the campaign against FC Copenhagen last week, and also guided Manchester City to victory against Newcastle United on his Premier League return in January.

De Bruyne has started four of City’s previous five matches across all competitions, but was frustrated against Chelsea on Saturday evening at the Etihad Stadium, as the Sky Blues dropped points in the Premier League title race.

Rodri salvaged a point against Mauricio Pochettino’s side, netting in the 83rd minute to cancel out Raheem Sterling’s first-half goal.

De Bruyne created a number of chances for the Blues, as Erling Haaland missed nine opportunities to score against the west London side.

Growing frustration led to De Bruyne dropping into a deeper midfielder role, a positional change Pep Guardiola has strongly rejected for the 32-year-old following Saturday’s Premier League clash.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s game against Brentford, Guardiola said: “What I ask of Kevin (De Bruyne) and the position he plays is eight years the same. He never played as a holding midfielder, defending deep as a holding midfielder.

“So what I said in the last press conference is what he has done during all our period together.

“Kevin (De Bruyne) has to play in the position he played during eight years and a half being together. Nothing absolutely changes, nothing.

“Of course he can help us. He runs incredibly and when we defend deep he helps us a lot. But what I’m saying is in the positions like we have to play, I prefer Kevin makes a high press up front and comes back and do it close to the box.

“Nothing I said differently that all the period (we’ve been together).”

De Bruyne is expected to feature against Brentford on Tuesday night, as Manchester City bid to bounce back from the weekend’s disappointing result with a win over Thomas Frank’s struggling side.

A victory would see Guardiola’s team leapfrog Arsenal and move to within just one point of leaders Liverpool.