Pep Guardiola insists Kevin De Bruyne is nowhere near his best despite fine finish

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Pep Guardiola insisted that Kevin De Bruyne is nowhere near his best despite a stunner for Manchester City on Saturday.

De Bruyne’s second Premier League goal of the season, a curling effort, made sure City bounced back from last week’s defeat against Liverpool by beating Brighton.

The Belgian, who already has nine assists this term, finished third in the Ballon d’Or behind Karim Benzema and Sadio Mane in midweek.

Yet his manager believes there is more to come from City’s talisman, who played on Saturday with a black eye after being struck by a ball in training.

‘Kevin can be better,’ Guardiola said. ‘He is not playing at his top level. A fantastic goal but he is not playing at his best.

‘He knows this. I don’t have to tell him. His dynamic is not perfect. I spoke with him. The goal is outstanding and thanks to him we didn’t suffer in the final minutes.’

Erling Haaland scored twice to take his tally to 17 Premier League goals – levelling Harry Kane’s haul of last season – and looks a certain to take the golden boot in his debut campaign.

Asked if he has already run out of words to describe the 22-year-old, Guardiola said: ‘I am a Catalan person so my English language is not big enough (to describe him).

‘I would say that Erling has the quality in a big space and a small space. This is the reality. When the play demands man-to-man you have to be more direct. We now have another weapon.

‘We are satisfied with the points because it was a tricky game. Compliments to my players because I know how difficult it was. I said how difficult it could be.’

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