Pep Guardiola was overjoyed with the match-winning performance of Kevin De Bruyne in Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat of Chelsea but is convinced the Belgian has even more to offer.
De Bruyne got City’s decisive goal in the second half on Saturday, curling a sumptuous effort past Kepa Arrizabalaga from 25 yards out.
It was his fifth Premier League goal against his former club, a record bettered by no other former Chelsea player, making them his favourite opponent.
Victory put City 13 points clear of Chelsea, and that could yet remain their lead at the summit if Liverpool cannot beat Brentford on Sunday.
De Bruyne now has six league goals this season, as many as he managed in 2020-21, though Guardiola’s post-match praise also suggested the City boss does not think his talisman has been playing at his highest level.
“We spoke together and said since we were together, from day one, all we have won and what we have done, we have done it together,” Guardiola told BT Sport.
“I want to push him to do it more, he’s a world-class player. He has the humility to do everything for the team, and it’s not easy to find that.
“He won three Premier League titles and lots of prizes but I still want more of him because I know he can do it. Today the action he has done, I haven’t seen it in a long time.
“He has everything. He missed a bit of confidence this season and struggled. He knows what he can do, he’s incredibly beloved from all of us.
“He’s completely different. His mum and dad can be so proud.”
Despite the victory increasing City’s lead, Guardiola is not getting sucked into the trap of declaring the title race over.
“That would be a problem now, to [take the gap] for granted,” he said. “If Liverpool win the games in hand, it’s eight points, not like Chelsea’s position.
“Now my job is take from the brains of my players, to not believe what the people say. An example is recently we were winning against Leicester 4-0 after 45 minutes then in 20 minutes it was 4-3.
“We are more than pleased with our position but we’ve a lot of work to do. My job is to tell them.”