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“We have to do it all together” – Pep Guardiola urges Manchester City squad to take inspiration from midfield star



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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has called for his squad to take inspiration from Kevin De Bruyne’s impact in major matches.

The 32-year-old could return for Manchester City this weekend, as Arsenal visit the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon in a crunch top of the table Premier League clash, with just one point currently separating the Gunners, Liverpool and City.

De Bruyne missed international duty with Belgium due to a groin injury, with the midfielder also absent from the Manchester City squad for an Emirates FA Cup quarter-final win over Newcastle as a result of the problem.

The Belgian was furiously substituted during a 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Anfield earlier this month, and has started just six matches for Manchester City so far this season, having missed a huge part of the campaign after undergoing hamstring surgery.

De Bruyne has six direct Premier League goal involvements since returning to action, and will be hopeful of adding to that tally between now and the end of the season, as Pep Guardiola’s side bid to retain last season’s treble.

As well as facing three quick-fire Premier League matches, the Sky Blues also have a UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie with Real Madrid and FA Cup semi-final clash with Chelsea on the horizon.

De Bruyne has an imperious record against Sunday’s opponents Arsenal, scoring eight goals in 19 appearances.

The 32-year-old played a major role in both wins over the Gunners last season, netting at the Emirates Stadium and Etihad Stadium, as the two victories helped City claim a third consecutive Premier League title.

Ahead of this weekend’s meeting, Guardiola has urged his Manchester City squad to take inspiration from De Bruyne’s performances and heaped fresh praise on the midfielder.

“We won’t put all the responsibility on Kevin (De Bruyne), we have to do it all together, with our people as well,” said the Catalan.

“He’s played so consistently for many years, that’s the most important thing. In important games we need important players, of course, but for the balance of the team we expect everybody to make a contribution.

“He is such an important player. It has been a tough season for him with injuries, he has been out for a long time. But he trained really well yesterday so we will see what we’re going to do in the next few days.”

De Bruyne is one of four players in contention to start on Sunday despite injury concerns, although the Belgium international has completed training sessions both with the Manchester City first-team and Elite Development Squad ahead of the fixture.