Manchester City boss Guardiola admits he 'won't rest' De Bruyne

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola admits he ‘won’t rest’ Kevin de Bruyne over the festive period as his goal-shy side look to narrow eight-point gap to Premier League leaders Liverpool

  • Kevin de Bruyne has played every minute of last seven Premier League games
  • But Pep Guardiola insists his Belgian midfielder is crucial to his side’s attack
  • City have struggled this term in front of goal with just 18 goals from 12 games
  • Guardiola remained coy over the fitness of striker Sergio Aguero  

Pep Guardiola admitted he cannot afford to rest Kevin De Bruyne as Manchester City attempt to make up ground on the Premier League leaders.

De Bruyne has played every minute of the last seven league matches and Guardiola has been vocal about player welfare in this truncated season.

City have given the Belgian rest in recent Champions League matches to stave off fatigue but will not rotate him over the festive period. Guardiola’s side head into the Christmas schedule eight points behind Liverpool.

Kevin de Bruyne is set to play through the Christmas period without rest for Manchester City

‘No, Kevin is so important for us that he won’t rest,’ Guardiola said. ‘He rested in the Champions League previously and right now we need him.’

City face Southampton on Saturday aware they must fix a current struggle for goals, having netted just 18 times in their opening 12 matches.

On how they correct that, Guardiola added: ‘Insist, insist, insist. If 25 shots is not enough, create more. Insist, be positive, one day it will break. Be aggressive, put more players there and when we are able to score and win the confidence will be back.

Boss Pep Guardiola is desperate to close an eight-point gap to leaders Liverpool in the table

‘Last season we scored more goals than Liverpool. We conceded too much but (now) we have to score more, everybody knows it but it doesn’t depend on one specific player. Everyone can score, it depends on the mentality and the desire.

‘We have to play better. We create chances and we can play better. We were not able to do some principles perfectly lately and we have to come back on this. It is not just the responsibility of the strikers.

‘The strikers know they have to score, everybody knows it, but everybody is involved to create more clear chances. This is all we can do.’

City have one of the worst scoring records in the top-10 with 18 goals in 10 games and are reliant on De Bruyne to create their opportunities

Guardiola remains coy over the match fitness of key City striker Sergio Aguero

Meanwhile, Sergio Aguero missed training after Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with West Brom as they continue to manage his fitness issues.

‘Today he trained and trained really well but I don’t know how many minutes [he can play],’ Guardiola said.

‘It wasn’t anything about the knee but it was another position. Today he trained.’

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