Pep Guardiola is confident that Bernardo Silva will enjoy a strong season for Manchester City after a 2019-20 below par.
Silva scored for Portugal against Sweden in the Nations League on Wednesday and received the backing of Guardiola ahead of City’s clash with Arsenal.
While the playmaker was directly involved in 13 goals last season in the Premier League, compared to 14 in 2018-19, he created fewer opportunities.
Silva created 71 chances, including assists, in 2018-19 and that number dropped to 51 last season when he played 824 fewer minutes.
Guardiola said the 26-year-old was exhausted last season, having helped City win four national trophies and Portugal to the Nations League the previous season.
“He was injured at times and did not reach the levels of the previous season, but it happens. I have the opinion that if there is a player that I have no doubt about who he is as a footballer, that is Bernardo, ”the City manager told reporters.
“He played absolutely incredible all season when we won four national titles, incredible, then he was the best player for Portugal in the UEFA Nations League final.
“He didn’t have time to refresh himself, he was exhausted and his mind was exhausted and he struggled with this. It’s not because I didn’t want to, it’s because we demand a lot from the players and sometimes it’s not possible.
“In the NBA, the best basketball league and we can say that the Premier League is one of the best in football, they have three or four months off, they play many games, 70 or 80, but they have three or four months of break “.
Guardiola added: “With Bernardo, it was like that, he could not refresh himself mentally and he started the season mentally tired.
“But I have the feeling that he will have a very good season this season because he is returning in many things to what we have seen in the past.”
Before hosting Arsenal on Saturday, City are 14th in the table after winning just four points from their first three games.