De Bruyne fitness boost crucial to Manchester City hopes - Guardiola

MANCHESTER, England -- Pep Guardiola hopes Kevin De Bruyne has put his injury problems behind him and can have a big impact on Manchester City as they maintain their interest in four competitions.

City breezed into the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 7-0 victory over Championship side Rotherham United with De Bruyne making just his fifth start of the season.

Guardiola does not want to rush the Belgian midfielder back after two injuries disrupted his season but he showed his quality in the 66 minutes he played, with the City boss saying De Bruyne sees things that other players cannot.

"We spoke with him yesterday to play 65-70 minutes, full intensity, and to do everything that is good for his rhythm," Guardiola told a news conference. "He played an incredible game, created a lot of chances and he has the vision to see what other people cannot see.

"Last season he played an incredible number of minutes and this season it is just 400 minutes when everyone else plays 2,000. Hopefully, in the last part of the season he is able to help us because we need him.

"I said many times how important Kevin is for us. Without him, last season would not have been possible. We have done incredible in terms of results. We have an opponent [Liverpool] that has done better than us, without us having him, and that can happen."

De Bruyne worked neatly alongside Phil Foden in the centre of midfield with 18-year-old getting on the scoresheet with his first goal at the Etihad.

The academy youngster is likely to start again on Wednesday night for the Carabao Cup first leg with Burton Albion and Guardiola is happy with his progress although he says he is still learning.

"Today he was fortunate [for the goal] he wants to control the ball and it touches his knee and goes in but his movement was incredible," Guardiola said.

"It's another 90 minutes for his experience and his self-confidence. But of course there were mistakes that he can improve. He lost two or three balls and he has to avoid it. But that is normal, he is 18 and the best way to learn is to play."

Foden admitted his goal was lucky but was delighted to score at the Etihad after his first goal earlier in the season in the cup win over Oxford United.

"The plan was to finish it first time but I was a little bit off balance so I tried to take a touch. So I think it was my knee, so I kneed it in. Luckily it went in," he said. "They all count and it's a dream come true scoring at the Etihad, so I'm buzzing.

"My mum and Dad came and I was happy for them to see my first goal. You get your games in the cup and any time a young lad gets an opportunity you've got to shine and show the manager -- that's what I'm trying to do. I'm getting a lot of games and enjoying it a lot."