Pep Guardiola has revealed that Kevin De Bruyne’s minutes could be limited has he slowly brings the Belgian back from an early-season hamstring injury.
De Bruyne has been missing from action since Manchester City’s Premier League opener against Burnley in August. The midfielder underwent surgery to rectify the problem and has since made his return to the City squad.
While he was on the bench for the Blues’ 2-0 Premier League victory over Sheffield United in late December, the Belgian has yet to return to the pitch for Pep Guardiola in a competitive game.
But speaking ahead of City’s FA Cup showdown with Championship outfit Huddersfield Town, manager Pep Guardiola was quick to bust any idea that De Bruyne will be rushed back into the picture.
“I think it will be good,” Guardiola said. “So when Kevin plays at his best level… Now I don’t ask Kevin to play at his level, it’s just to be calm and play good minutes, and do the principles that he has to do, and the rest will come.
“We cannot force him, a player with a long injury, this kind of situation. I think from my experience, I was a football player and it happened quite similar.
“I was one year with hamstring problems; when you come back you need time. It’s not, ‘OK, you play’ and it’s the best Kevin.”
“So he has to be relaxed, enjoy the minutes he’s going to play, try to win the games, help us to win the games.
“Kevin maybe in 20 minutes can help us more right now than 90 minutes. And after his body will dictate how much minutes more he can get. I think this is my opinion.”
De Bruyne’s return will serve as a major boost to the reigning Premier League champions as they look to hunt down a fourth triumph in a row – a feat no team in Premier League history as ever accomplished.
Attention will be on retaining the FA Cup for now however, as City play host to second-tier side Huddersfield Sunday afternoon.
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