Pep Guardiola is familiar with Kevin de Bruyne’s magic so was perhaps not surprised to see the Belgian inspire Manchester City to a 3-2 win at Newcastle United on Saturday and lift his side two points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool.
The Spaniard, however, was not just waxing lyrical about the returning Belgian after a thrilling victory, he had warm words for Norwegian youngster Oscar Bobb whose goal from De Bruyne’s assist secured the points in stoppage time.
Bobb’s first Premier League goal completed a thrilling comeback for City, who had taken the lead through Bernardo Silva but then shipped two goals to a fired-up Newcastle side.
De Bruyne came off the bench in the 69th minute for his first league action since being injured on the opening day of the season and equalised five minutes later.
Bobb, who was sent on in the 82nd minute, showed dazzling footwork to capitalise on De Bruyne’s pass.
“I am a little bit upset and grumpy with him because he didn’t score from the free kick!,” Guardiola joked when asked to sum up de Bruyne’s impact. “When opponents are more tired, Kevin and Oscar provide another pace at the end.
“Oscar’s was a fantastic goal for the control. We were really impressed in pre-season, I knew from information for the second team he was special.
“When Kevin has the ball and we have runners, Kevin is unique in the world but the finish by Oscar, I am so, so happy for him.”
Bobb joined City’s youth ranks from Valerenga in 2019 and has been given his chance this season.
“Amazing feeling. Just watching from the bench, it was a high tempo match. The manager told me to come on and score so thankfully I could,” Bobb said.
“It’s a lifelong dream and to do it with the best team in the world, I can’t describe it. This win is for the fans.”
Bobb will no doubt play a role over the coming months as City hunt a fourth successive league title but the 32-year-old De Bruyne’s return from his hamstring injury could prove to be the pivotal moment.
The five-times Premier League winner said he has used the time away to add something to his game.
“I don’t know what to expect, I’ve never experienced this. I worked really hard and had to change a couple of things,” he said.
“When you play all of the time, it’s very hard to change things. I’m not someone who stands still. I enjoyed myself being able to do things I could never do. I worked hard to come back.”