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Pep Guardiola heaps praise on "exceptional" Kevin De Bruyne - and reveals what makes him so special

Kevin De Bruyne

Pep Guardiola has hailed Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne as an "exceptional" player.

De Bruyne is enjoying a sensational season at the Etihad Stadium, having scored eight Premier League goals and provided a division-high 16 assists.

The former Wolfsburg man was also on target in Wednesday's 2-1 victory over Real Madrid in the Champions League.

And Guardiola has explained what makes the Belgium international such a "special" footballer.

"It’s not necessary for me to say absolutely anything about Kevin any more. I’d just say: ‘Take a look at how he plays’," he said ahead of Sunday's League Cup final against Aston Villa.

"The performance level, the continuity, the influence in our final third and on our finishing, the desire, his calmness and positivity. I mean, I asked him: ‘Kevin, what did you feel before you took that penalty?’ and he just said: ‘I’m going to score’.

"He doesn’t feel much pressure, he likes to play in the big events, he’s an exceptional player. 

"I say to him: ‘Kevin, don’t forget, do the simple things properly’. Sometimes he’s alone and might lose the ball. 

"He’s able to see something special and you have the spaces no one else can see but even with that he’s improving and improving.

"He’s not 33 or 34. He’s still a lot of years to play and always you have the feeling when he’s on the pitch that he’s never disconnected, even if he’s not influencing the game at that moment. It’s important to be like that.

"Honestly, with these types of players, the challenge comes from inside themselves. If you have to push them to be something special they are not big, big, big. I don't like players who complain. If a guy wants to be better than he already is then it is up to him.

"I don't believe too much in trying to seduce them to become better players. They all know what it takes to improve – so it has to come from them. The big things in sport always come from inside the players. Not the trainers. The one detail that all the best players have is to never complain. They don't complain to the manager, the club, because they know it is up to them to become better day by day.

"The others, they are the ones who make reasons why they can't do it. That's why they change clubs all the time and never end up with a top club. The big players always look at themselves.

"Unfortunately, when Kevin helped us get 100 points he still wasn't good enough to be the best player in the league [Mohamed Salah was named PFA Player of the Year in 2017/18]. Maybe in the future."

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