Pep Guardiola is encouraged to see Manchester City’s assist king Kevin De Bruyne scoring more goals himself after the Belgian star claimed a Premier League record on Sunday in the final match of the Premier League season.
The Belgium midfielder set up Raheem Sterling in Sunday’s 5-0 win over relegated Norwich City, claiming his 20th assist of the campaign to match Thierry Henry’s single-season record in the Premier League.
De Bruyne also netted twice himself – particularly sumptuously before half-time – as City broke through the 100-goal barrier.
His first goal was an absolute stunner, as De Bruyne took several touches before firing from outside of the box, while the second also saw the Belgian star fired a wonderfully-placed finish.
It meant he finished with 13 Premier League goals, his most prolific return in England’s top flight, and Guardiola was thrilled to see the midfielder add more goals to his game this season.
“We know the assists and the quality he has for this but we need his goals,” Guardiola told a post-match news conference.
“Today he scored two brilliant goals. Of course, the first one is special.”
Guardiola had no concerns over De Bruyne’s pursuit of an individual record harming his overall performance.
“We tell them, play simple, play as you know. Don’t be focused too much on achieving it because it will come along,” he said.
“He made one assist but could have easily broken the record. Now he is going to share it with Titi Henry. He played really good.
“The individual target, the focus to achieve something. It’s good. Athletes always want to overcome and be better and benefit for the team.”
De Bruyne was not the only City player to chalk up leading individual numbers this season, with Ederson’s 16th clean sheet winning him the Premier League Golden Glove.
It is an honour Guardiola felt the Brazil international earned in a sharp outing at the Etihad Stadium – his save in a one-on-one from Teemu Pukki particularly impressive.
“It’s so nice, but I think today he deserves it because he made two incredible saves. Without him it would not be possible,” Guardiola added.
“He made a really good season and he deserves what he has done. We are so happy for this award.”