Pep Guardiola said Kevin De Bruyne will know he has a battle on his hands to regain his place in the Manchester City squad.
De Bruyne returned to the squad for the 3-1 win over Watford on Sunday but has not started a game since City’s victory over Manchester United after testing positive for Covid-19 during the international break.
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City have won five games in a row without the Belgian and Guardiola, who confirmed that De Bruyne will start the match against RB Leipzig on Tuesday, insists the 30-year-old is aware of the task he faces.
“Kevin played all season from the beginning, arrived after the European Cup final in difficult circumstances and then contracted Corona[virus]Guardiola told a news conference on Monday.
“He should come back and fight for the position. He doesn’t have to show me anything. It’s for himself; show what he has and do what he’s done for five or six years every three days.”
“Competition is very important and he knows that and so does Bernardo [Silva] And all the wings. They have to show it in five minutes or 90 minutes, and they have to show the quality to themselves and everyone else.
Kevin has coronavirus[virus] When he was growing into his physical condition that was a setback. People who are suffering feel very empty in the coming days. He starts tomorrow and we’ll see how many minutes he can play.”
City have racked up seven consecutive wins in competitions, and already secured the top spot in Group A in the Champions League before traveling to Germany to face RB Leipzig.
The game will be played behind closed doors after an increase in coronavirus cases in Europe, and Guardiola urged the public to continue to follow the restrictions.
“The concern is that the situation is not good in Germany and we have to know that it has not been resolved,” he said.
“Wear a mask, keep social distance and be careful. You had better play with people, but if the authorities say behind closed doors, you know it’s dangerous.”
Gabriel Jesus is not fit to travel but Guardiola will have five youngsters on his squad including Cole Palmer, 19, and James McCarthy, 19.
“They are 18 or 19 years old and you have everything in front of you,” Guardiola said.
“The potential they have, great young players, we all agree but they need to stabilize perfectly. The potential is there. If we have to use it, it wouldn’t be a problem.”