Manchester City had a bad dress rehearsal against Crystal Palace in the run-up to Wednesday’s Champions League match with Club Brugge. It lost 0-2 and saw a pale Kevin De Bruyne.
Vincent Van Genechten
Wilfried Zaha put the Londoners on roses after just six minutes. City had to continue with ten men in the injury time of the first half after the direct red card for Aymeric Laporte. Kevin De Bruyne was replaced on the hour by John Stones, Christian Benteke entered the field five minutes later. Conor Gallagher took the win for the Eagles.
De Bruyne did not receive the expected heavy criticism in the British press. The Daily Mail and Manchester Evening News, among others, gave our compatriot a 6/10. “He never backed down,” MEN said. “De Bruyne was constantly trying to be mojo but he remained far from his normal standard performance for which he would get a 6.”
The statistics of the evening unfortunately came in the name of De Bruyne. He lost the ball no less than 21 times. He never did worse on an hour of playtime.
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Eurosport UK actually put an opinion piece online, stating that Man City is still too dependent on our compatriot.
“The 30-year-old midfielder was already relatively ineffective against West Ham (in the cup, ed.), while City failed to find the necessary intensity”, it sounds like “De Bruyne seemed tired when he only came seven minutes before the end. was replaced by the more attacking Jack Grealish. This was seen by many as a sign that the Belgian is in need of a rest as he has played almost every game since his return from injury. It was therefore surprising to see Pep Guardiola start against Crystal Palace on Saturday.”
“However, Guardiola got to see a clear illustration of De Bruyne’s importance to Manchester City,” we read. “In his absence, the team had a hard time creating chances and even conceded a second goal. Phil Foden may have become more important to City, but De Bruyne is crucial in Guardiola’s way of building his team. Without him, the English champion is often too passive. And too slow in the build-up, especially with Grealish on the field.”