September 18, 2016 - 5:38pm
Pep Guardiola has hailed Kevin de Bruyne as playing football 'on another level' after the Belgian maestro orchestrated another Manchester City symphony.
City maintained their season's 100 percent competitive record with a 4-0 rout of Bournemouth at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
In the process, the Sky Blues broke a 119-year-old club record and later Guardiola could not have been more effusive in praise of his in-form playmaker.
The 25-year-old midfielder opened the scoring and was involved in the other three goals.
His form has been instrumental in City winning eight successive games under Guardiola, eclipsing the record of seven set in the Victorian era in 1897.
"The performance from Kevin was terrific, amazing," Guardiola said after the match. "He is on another level…I think he's special, an outstanding player.
"Without the ball, he is the first fighter; with it, he sees the right move every single time. We are lucky to have him."
City fans think they are lucky to have Guardiola too.
Former England midfielder Jermaine Jenas, now a pundit for BBC, reverberated their feelings.
"The way Guardiola has them playing at the moment is astonishing. It's like watching Barca at the Nou Camp," Jenas noted with awe after the win.
At the heart of it all is De Bruyne.
He has the presence of a complete midfielder. His tireless running is allied to such intelligence and skill that it is now easy to believe that had injury not sidelined him for two months last season City would have won the title.
The Belgian was at the centre of all City's most exquisite moves, and his interplay with Kelechi Iheanacho, Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan - all of who got on the scoresheet - left Bournemouth paralysed.
De Bruyne's 15th minute strike illustrated his vision and excellence - a freekick deliberately fired low after he sensed that he Bournemouth wall would leap anticipating a curler over the top.
It was, however, just one of 25 goals that City have scored in their eight games.
It would make it easy for City's faithful to get hopelessly carried away. But Guardiola warned against the euphoria.
"I'm so happy. We've won a lot of games and people say very nice words. But I know our world, I see that trainers who didn't win are so criticised. I know we are going to lose games. Important ones. I need to be stable," he warned.
"We know we have a lot of things to get better at. Everything starts with that humble attitude. We played like a small team without the ball and that is why I'm so proud. People like it when famous players run for the ball."