Pep Guardiola hailed Kevin De Bruyne as “one of the best players I’ve ever seen in my life” after the Belgium international was instrumental in Manchester City’s 4-0 Champions League demolition of Feyenoord.
De Bruyne created first-half goals for Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus as 10-man Liverpool were dispatched 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday and the midfielder was to the fore once again in Rotterdam.
An inch-perfect cross allowed John Stones to complete the rout after the hour, the England defender having opened the scoring in the second minute before Aguero and Jesus continued their productive starts to the campaign.
Afterwards, a man who has coached the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Toni Kroos and Robert Lewandowski, reserved high praise for City’s number 17.
“Kevin is one of the best players I’ve ever seen in my life in terms of how he can make absolutely everything [happen],” Guardiola said.
“He’s a top, top quality player. We are so proud and so happy he’s with us.
“He’s had a few ups and downs, maybe because we didn’t win some games [last season] that we deserved.
“He’s so stable and he has the mental quality. The rest comes from inside.”
City dazzled from the opening whistle as they quickly silenced a rowdy De Kuip, with the sight of De Bruyne dictating the game alongside fellow playmakers of David Silva and Bernardo Silva a delight to watch and something Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Dutch champions were wholly ill-equipped to combat.
“It’s a pleasure to play like this because the level of the players is so high,” De Bruyne told BT Sport, having finished the match wearing the captain’s armband after a flurry of substitutions.
“It gives me happiness to be like this.”
Thank you for the amazing support as always tonight!
Safe journey home, Blues! pic.twitter.com/vMS2Y0OSkE
— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 13, 2017
Guardiola was careful to temper his own joy after two such comprehensive wins.
Asked whether the past five days represented City’s best form under his management, he added: “It’s too early to say – we have to improve.
“We made a good performance but also there were mistakes. Against Liverpool, with 11 v 11 the game was equal.
“In Europe it’s so demanding, it doesn’t matter where – winning 4-0 away is not easy. We are just in September, you have to win the respect of your opponents.
“We made a good step last weekend by beating one of the top-six teams at home. Last season it was just Arsenal [who City beat at home out of the Premier League’s top six].
“If you want to grow you have to beat them and it’s the same here [in Europe]. You have to win this kind of game.”