Soccer

Man City’s team spirit can combat ‘almost irreplaceable’ Kevin De Bruyne loss, says Pep Guardiola

Kevin De Bruyne is substituted due to an injury

Ahead of the FA Cup fourth-round trip to Cheltenham on Saturday, the City manager insisted unity and fighting spirit from an entire team trumped individual quality in the battle for major honours.

“You have to know that I’m going to miss Kevin a lot,” Guardiola said. “He’s almost irreplaceable with the special quality he has. He was nominated the best player in the Premier League last season so we know how good he is.

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“But at the same time, when you want to win important titles, you need something which is irreplaceable too – the charisma the team can have, the commitment and the relations between all the stars in the locker room.

“On and off the pitch they are not friends but almost friends to fight together. Without that you cannot achieve absolutely any titles. The quality doesn’t win titles, quality wins more games.

“But titles are won because there is something like the confidence built for the team and everybody accepts it. When that happens you can win a lot of games in a row and titles.

“We are going to miss Kevin, but we’ve had almost one year with Sergio Aguero, maybe one of the best strikers in all of the history in the Premier League, and we move forward without him. We have to find a solution.”

PA

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