Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola wants Kevin De Bruyne to return to the basics to re-discover his best form after a recent dip by his own standards.
The two-time Premier League Player of the Season missed two games recently due to illness and has not been his lively and proactive normal self when on the field.
The Belgian struggled for impact against Newcastle United in Saturday’s 2-0 win, turning the ball on occasion, before being replaced near the hour by Bernardo Silva.
De Bruyne had found some form with a brilliant strike in City’s 3-0 FA Cup win at Bristol City last week but Guardiola said he had a “passive” first half.
“Kevin, always the standards of Kevin are the sky,” Guardiola said.
“Everyone knows his level. In one week he has an opportunity to show his quality, delighted for the victory we had, this is what we have to do. Come back to principles, work hard.
“Everything will come back without any effort. Just do it your usual quality, your best.”
De Bruyne has scored four goals and provided 12 assists in the Premier League this season, with City sitting second, five points behind Arsenal.
City have a rare midweek break with no games scheduled, allowing Guardiola’s players an opportunity to rest and recover prior to Saturday’s league trip to Crystal Palace, before hosting RB Leipzig in their Champions League last-16 second leg.
Guardiola underlined the importance of both games to their season.
“We prepare good for the game against Crystal Palace, always was really difficult for us,” Guardiola said.
“And, of course, Leipzig, I have the same opinion that I had when we played them and after Burnley with Vinnie will come back here before the international break.
“If we are able to win the games, we are still alive in three competitions and that last part we will be there. If we lose, we will be out. Simple as that.
“Arrive in a stage when you are there that you know exactly when you lose games you lose competitions. Now is the moment that is going to happen.”
Source: Stats Perform