Pep Guardiola applauded Bernardo Silva for his performance in Manchester City’s 2-0 derby win over Manchester United and heralded the Portuguese midfielder as one of Europe’s best players.
Silva joined City ahead of the 2017-18 campaign from Monaco to much fanfare and had a solid, if unspectacular, debut campaign, often finding himself used as a substitute.
But this term he has truly raised his game to another level, finding himself involved in 14 Premier League goals – including a strike against United on Wednesday – and impressing with his all-around play.
Although perhaps best known for his ability on the ball, Silva has also been regularly praised by Guardiola for his work-rate.
And, following the win that could prove crucial in City’s title defence, Guardiola again saluted the Portuguese midfielder, who has been named in the Professional Footballers’ Association’s (PFA) Premier League Team of the Year and nominated for the main individual prize.
“Bernardo is having an incredible season, incredible,” Guardiola told reporters. “In the second half [against United] he played like a holding midfielder.
“A holding midfielder…Bernardo. It doesn’t matter, he fought with Paul Pogba and everyone. It’s not just [against United], it’s not just his goal, it’s all the season, it was a masterclass, a masterpiece every single game. It was incredible.
“Bernardo is a joyous guy. Of course, he can play right or left. For example, the game against Swansea City [in the FA Cup], he played as a left winger and he made the goal and an assist.
“It was offside, the goal from Sergio [Aguero], but he made the assist, and after he played as a holding midfielder. He can play as an attacking midfielder [as well], he’s such an intelligent player, with his work ethic.
“He’s a fighter. He’s one of the best players in Europe. One of the best.”
City are now three wins away from retaining the Premier League title, having moved one point clear of Liverpool at the top of the table after their latest result.
Next up for Guardiola’s men is a trip to Burnley on Sunday, as they continue to chase a domestic treble.