Pep Guardiola was delighted to see Kevin De Bruyne adding goals to his game as the Manchester City boss paid tribute to the departing David Silva.
With second place already confirmed for City, they went into their last game of the season against Norwich with different motivations. Not only was it Silva’s last Premier League game, it also gave De Bruyne the chance to match Thierry Henry’s league record for most assists in a single season and saw Ederson keep a clean sheet to win the Golden Glove.
As well as matching the assist record, De Bruyne also scored a pair of goals for himself. And Guardiola revealed how he told the playmaker to approach the game.
“We did a good job – a game with many players who were outstanding,” Guardiola said. “Kyle [Walker] played very well. In general, we were in a good position.
“Good to finish here, second position, scoring a lot of goals, Ederson and Kevin de Bruyne and now we have two weeks to prepare for Real Madrid.
“The two goals – the second is really nice too, I like that from Kevin and the assists, but we need his goals too. Today, he scored two special goals, particularly the first one.
“We told him to play as you know don’t be focused too much and it will come along [the assists record], he made one assist but could have broken it easily. Instead he’ll share with [Thierry] Henry and he played really well.”
The season isn’t quite over yet for City, as they still have the Champions League to contend with. They will face Real Madrid on 7th August in the second leg of their Round of 16 tie, looking to protect their advantage.
Guardiola is keen to prepare for the game in the best way possible.
“It’s a different competition and opponents, we have two weeks now.
“Tomorrow we have regeneration and after that we’ll prepare for the game, to try to be in a good game and that’s all. We’ll arrive in the best conditions and that’s what we try to do.”
With Silva playing in his last ever Premier League game, the City maestro was given a standing ovation by those in attendance when he was taken off.
Even though the game was held behind closed doors, the City squad did their best to give him the send-off he deserved.
Guardiola said the tribute was necessary to recognise the “incredible” contribution Silva has made to the club.
“It was the smallest standing ovation of all time but he will come back to receive the ovation he deserves,” he said.
“I have the feeling that the fans want to do it, what they’ve done on the pitch show the gratitude and the honour that he has to have for the incredible 10 years.
“The team wanted to let him feel and say thank you for what he’s done for this club for 10 years.”