Sep 19, 2016

    De Bruyne is in same league as Messi: Guardiola


    PEP Guardiola is refusing to get carried away by Manchester City's outstanding start to the season and insists maintaining it will not be easy.

    Their 4-0 demolition of Bournemouth took them two points clear at the top of the Premier League with a seventh successive victory in all competitions, making it the club's best-ever start to a season.

    But Guardiola believes there is still room for improvement in a team he has rejuvenated since arriving from Bayern Munich earlier this summer.

    "Numbers are numbers. One record will be for another person to beat," he said.

    "The important thing is we won a game after a Champions League game.

    "I know we are going to lose games and when that happens, it's important to be stable like we are stable now."

    Guardiola said the season had barely got under way and he had had enough warning prior to arriving at how tough a title it is to win.

    "We are in September. It's nothing. We have played absolutely nothing," said the 45-year-old Spaniard.

    City were inspired to their fifth successive league win by Kevin de Bruyne. He scored the opening goal from a free-kick and had a hand in each of the next three from Kelechi Iheanacho, Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan on his first start for the club.

    Apart from Barcelona's Lionel Messi, Guardiola believes de Bruyne deserves to be rated as among the world's best players.

    "Maybe Messi can sit alone at the table. But that table aside, Kevin can stay there," said the manager who enjoyed many memorable moments with Messi at Barca.

    "I think he's a special player - an outstanding player.

    "Every time, he makes the right decision. That's why he is a player at another level."