Pep praises De Bruyne's 'special quality' after Man City's FA Cup win

De Bruyne After Man City's FA Cup Win


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Kevin De Bruyne made a comeback with an assist and Phil Foden scored twice, leading Manchester City, the defending champions, to a dominant 5-0 victory over Huddersfield in the FA Cup third round.

Julian Alvarez and Jeremy Doku also scored, contributing to City's comprehensive win, which was further boosted by an own goal, as they easily overpowered their Championship rivals in a lopsided match at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

The impact of the in-form Foden was again impressive but De Bruyne's comeback, after five months out, was arguably of greater significance.

The Belgian was given just over half an hour at the end of the game and marked the occasion by teeing up a goal for fellow returnee Doku.

De Bruyne's presence brought some of the biggest cheers of the afternoon from the home fans and afterwards his boss Pep Guardiola was full of praise for the key midfielder.

"We are incredibly delighted he is back," said Guardiola. "Kevin wins games and few can do that. He has a special ability to do something that is hard to find.

I don't want to put pressure on Kevin, he knows that and we have known each other a long time - he has that sort of special quality.

"Kevin will help us with his talent but I don't want to put all the pressure on his shoulders because it is not fair to him.

"Of course he has a special ability and quality to do something that is difficult to find. We have guys in midfield who love to run. Kevin is exceptional. He is unique."

Discussing the next steps for De Bruyne as he continues his return to top fitness, Guardiola said: "He played really good minutes and we thought it was better to play second half minutes.

"It was really, really good and now he needs to accumulate training sessions more than games. Now for Newcastle he has another chance and training minutes here and in Abu Dhabi [on City's upcoming warm weather training break]."

How the teams lined up | Match statsFA Cup results | FixturesDownload the Sky Sports App

The visitors resisted well for the opening half an hour, limiting Alvarez to a long-range shot which was comfortably saved by Lee Nicholls while Oscar Bobb had an effort unwittingly blocked by team-mate Rico Lewis.

The visitors showed some spirit by launching a handful of counter-attacks but the final ball was generally lacking.

Sorba Thomas did get through on goal on one occasion but he failed to beat Stefan Ortega and the offside flag indicated it would not have counted anyway.

City suffered a blow when Manuel Akanji limped off after a heavy challenge from Alex Matos, who was booked, but they soon began to step up the pressure.

Huddersfield were pegged back as Sergio Gomez had a low ball turned behind and a Foden shot was deflected to safety.

The opener came on 33 minutes as Mateo Kovacic slipped in Alvarez and his firm pass was well taken and rifled in by Foden at close range.

The second followed just four minutes later as Matheus Nunes linked with Foden and then found Lewis, who squared for Alvarez to stretch and poke home.

Bobb went close early in the second half as he cut inside but dragged his shot wide.

De Bruyne was introduced on 57 minutes in a double change that also saw Doku make his return from injury.

City claimed their third goal moments later as Nunes controlled a high ball and played wide to Bobb, whose attempted cross to De Bruyne at the far post flicked off Ben Jackson and looped into the net.

Huddersfield had a brief flurry as Thomas forced Ortega to save with his feet when through one on one but City's fourth was not long in coming.

Again Foden did the damage, calmly stroking the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the area from a well-worked short-corner routine.

De Bruyne created the fifth as he surged upfield, played a one-two with Bobb and then pulled the ball back for Doku to thump in on the half-volley.

Moore: Foden was unplayable

Huddersfield boss Darren Moore: "It was always going to be tough. We tried to nullify the areas we know City are excellent in and thought we did that early on.

But once the first two goals go in the game runs away from you.

"Phil Foden was at times unplayable. They are the best team in the world. They are a fantastic team and from our learning perspective today will stand us in good stead."

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What's next?

Manchester City's next game is on Saturday when they travel to Newcastle in the Premier League; kick-off 5.30pm. Pep Guardiola's side then host Burnley on Wednesday January 31; kick-off 7.30pm.

Huddersfield's next outing is at home to Plymouth in the Championship on Saturday; kick-off 3pm. The Terriers then visit Blackburn on Saturday January 20; kick-off 3pm.


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