Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has indicated Kevin De Bruyne needed some rest following his involvement with the national team during the international break and was the reason he dropped him to the bench on Saturday.
City’s creative hub was missing from the starting lineup as the Champions were shocked 3-2 away to promoted a Norwich City side, and not even his introduction in the second half could help.
De Bruyne has been phenomenal for City this campaign, assisting in each of the first four matches of the new Premier League campaign.
He continued with the same form with Belgium during the Euro qualifiers and was expected to start at the Carrow Road.
Guardiola has however indicated that the former Chelsea man needed some rest, with two matches coming up in a space of seven days.
“I trust a lot on Gundogan, he’s incredible, an important player for us. Kevin, he was incredible this season, he played incredibly during this period but he played two games in the international team, and what happened to Kevin last season, I’d prefer 20-25 minutes or 30 minutes in the second half,” he told Sky Sports before the match.
“And in three, four days we have a tough game, we have a tough trip to Ukraine in the Champions League and three days later a game against Watford and everybody has to play that game,” he added.
City fell behind 2-0 in the first half from Kenny Mclean and Toddy Cantwell goals, before Sergio Aguero halved the deficit before the break.
Teemu Pukki restored the hosts' two-goal lead with a third five minutes into the second half following Otamendi’s error at the back, and Rodrigo grabbed the second for City with two minutes remaining.
The loss meant the champions have dropped five points so far this season, giving leaders Liverpool an early advantage in the title race.