Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne is enjoying playing under manager Pep Guardiola and credits the Spaniard’s tactics for helping him thrive at the Premier League leaders.The Belgian international notched seven league goals and nine assists in 2015 but since Guardiola’s arrival last July, De Bruyne’s impact has risen drastically, with the 26-year-old assisting 21 goals in 36 league games last season.De Bruyne has provided nine assists and scored twice in 16 appearances across all competitions this campaign and the attacking midfielder praised his manager and the club’s successful transfers for improving the unbeaten side.“Since Pep came to the club, he plays a style of football I like to play, so it makes it easy as a player,” De Bruyne told Sky Sports.“I like it here, it is the perfect environment and since I came here there has been a lot of trust in me. I like the project they are doing from the moment I came here.“There was an older team (when I first arrived), they did a lot of transfers, a lot of young people, they are building for the future… I am really happy here and I see myself being a long time here.”De Bruyne, along with forwards Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, has been instrumental in City’s storming start to the season, which has seen them open a five-point lead at the top of the standings and qualify from their Champions League group.City host fifth-placed Arsenal on Sunday and De Bruyne has urged his team to extend their advantage and heap pressure on their rivals on a weekend when title contenders Manchester United and champions Chelsea face off at Stamford Bridge.“It is a very important one again. We have Arsenal and United have Chelsea, so there are a lot of things that can happen again,” De Bruyne added.“If we win that game, it means that somebody else is also going to lose points with Arsenal.“So it puts pressure on the rest, it gives us a good advantage and it is always handy to have more points and to put pressure on the other people.”
The Catalans went through 4-2 on aggregate after coming from behind twice to win 3-2 on the night as Atletico were reduced to nine men and were lucky not to be more harshly punished when Arda Turan was only booked for throwing his boot at an assistant referee.“The moment arrived when the game had got ugly and we took off Neymar so it didn’t get any more heated,” said Enrique.“Players ought to be intelligent and know that they are fellow professionals.”Neymar had already put Atletico’s hopes of reaching the last four to the sword well before he was replaced by Pedro Rodriguez 13 minutes from time.The Brazilian levelled with his 20th goal of the season after Fernando Torres had brought Atletico level in the tie with a first minute opener.Raul Garcia then briefly put Atletico back in front from the spot, but Miranda’s own goal made it 2-2 before Neymar pounced again on the counter-attack three minutes before the break.Atletico captain Gabi was then sent-off at half-time and Mario Suarez was also dismissed as the Spanish champions completely lost their heads after the break.“Neymar showed the attitude he always does. He is a player with a lot of confidence and helps us all in all phases of the game. Today he was outstanding,” added Enrique.However, Atletico boss Diego Simeone defended his players despite referee Jesus Gil Manzano showing six yellow cards and two reds to his side during a tempestuous 90 minutes.“I feel proud of my players. In the first-half they were extraordinary and showed an incredible fight.“It was very difficult to attack because the ball was bobbling all the time. Barcelona played on the counter-attack, which is rare for them and they did it very well.”Simeone also accepted the responsibility for his side’s showing after the break as he shut up shop in hope of avoiding a more demoralising scoreline.“In the second-half due to my decision the team played as you saw, without taking any risks so that they didn’t score.“I tried to do the best for my club and my players. We played the most convenient way for us. I am the coach and it is what I thought was the right thing to do.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000MADRID, January 29 – Barcelona boss Luis Enrique said he had to substitute two-goal star Neymar to prevent the Brazilian from being injured as his side’s Copa del Rey quarter-final, second leg with Atletico Madrid turned nasty.