The Belgian international has been in impressive form for the 2021/22 campaign and has scored seven goals in his last 10 appearances in all competitions in key strikes in City’s Premier League and Champions League quest.
Speaking ahead of Saturday evening’s trip to Leeds, Guardiola highlighted the importance of the attacking midfielder’s contribution but added that his unique level of play is nothing new.
“She is very important,” he said. “He is at the forefront of the world in this type of running and transformation.
“He can run and break the opponent’s space. It hurts. She is really beautiful.
“Everyone knows it – this is not the first season he has played in the Premier League.”
With Liverpool playing Newcastle earlier this weekend, the Anfield team could jump City to the top of the table but Guardiola says the Merseysiders’ results have nothing to do with his team’s desire for higher points in our remaining games.
“We will know the outcome,” he said. “Feelings when you have four, five, six points in front are different but one point… What is the alternative?
“We have to win, otherwise they will be ahead. We always talk about the results but I have never talked about this. I’m focused on what we need to do to beat Leeds. I watched the last Leeds games and what they did …
“They play the same way as Jesse Marsch did at RB Leipzig and the wars, the quality of the players, the influence of Kalvin Phillips, ‘goalkeeper, how they build, what rhythm they play, what happens when the ball is on the sidelines, runners… , where the gaps are, how they defend … They defend firmly, high, they can make a low block, very flexible, the space is here: right and left …
“After that I tell them: ‘Guys, we have scored 12 goals in 3 match.
Guardiola added that the players knew exactly what was in danger in the coming weeks and said the team was focused on their work, ensuring they were in excellent condition and staying calm.
“Sometimes it seems the management knows what we are playing for,” he said. “The players know better than I do because they have been running for 11 months to reach the finals trying to win the Premier League.
“I was very worried as a footballer. I felt more responsible than ever. Here, I can do nothing. I will not be able to win tomorrow’s game, and I will not be defeated.
“As a footballer, I felt I could contribute to what was going to happen. I imagined a game, focused on my body, imagined situations where I had a ball and figured out what to do. The older I got, the more comfortable I became. At first, I was worried, afraid.
“The experience is not unique. What happened to me was worth it. Everyone has to live their own lives and lives. Otherwise it would be boring. You have to live for yourself, that’s fine.
“Right now, I don’t have that feeling. That is why I am more relaxed, more relaxed.
“What I want [from them] right now at this time is to get fresh in our minds, souls, legs … in all parts of our bodies. Minor details, regulations …
“Remember a few things, and remember the things which are antagonistic, and do not become young. Enjoy today, go home, stay with family, sleep a lot, have a good dinner …
“Tomorrow, we take the coach – one hour and 15 minutes to Leeds and try to play the game. We’ve been here many times.
“I know these players. We can be defeated but forget what they are doing ?! No, forget it. ”