City don’t have these twos, but the squad is the star for Pep
Manchester City look set to complete at least a domestic double of sorts this season, with potential European success still on the horizon too.
An expensively assembled squad with a world-class manager are capable of beating anybody on their day, but not because of individuality – at least in the eyes of Pep Guardiola.
The Spanish coach says that City miss the single match-winning component that other teams can sometimes rely on, highlighting three of the most-vaunted players in Europe over the last decade as well as the younger PSG star, Kylian Mbappe.
However, that doesn’t hamper his side’s bids for glory, Guardiola says, due to the overall squad strength being so complete and all players being around the same level.
“We maybe don’t have a single player who is capable to win a game all on his own like Messi, Ronaldo, Mbappe or Neymar,” the City boss said on Canal Plus.
“But the average level of my players is so high that no replacement throws the team off balance.”
That strength in depth is arguably one of the club’s qualities which has led to their League Cup dominance over the past few years.
City won a fourth straight Carabao Cup final on Sunday, beating Tottenham 1-0 at Wembley.
While other clubs may rotate players in that competition, giving fringe players, youngsters and those needing match action some minutes on the pitch, City’s well-rounded squad allows them to still field first-team capable stars alongside a handful of talented youngsters.
Even so, there is one player in the squad Pep feels stands out above the others, even if not to the level of Messi and Co. for regular match-winning numbers: Belgian midfielder Kevin de Bruyne.
“When people ask me to speak about players, about their qualities, I always respond with the same thing: you just have to watch.
“Turn your TV on and enjoy. Kevin, he is like a knife, we say in Spanish. When he decides to go for it, he sees passes and the game.”
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