Pep Guardiola has discussed Bernardo Silva’s advanced role at Manchester City and says the midfielder ‘can play six roles upfront’.
Silva has enjoyed an excellent season for the Premier League champions this term, with the versatility of the Portugal international having aided Guardiola’s options.
The 27-year-old has starred through the centre this season, but has found himself on the right of a front three during recent fixtures with Tottenham and Everton.
Silva struggled to make an impression in either fixture after being forced wide, though Guardiola is insistent that the midfielder can play almost any attacking position for his side.
“Bernardo is so important, he likes to play inside but we struggled a bit to find him in the positions in the middle, we find he’s more outside to come inside,” he told a pre-match press conference ahead of City’s clash with Peterborough on Tuesday evening.
“It depends on the opponent, normally they try to close gaps inside so isn’t easy to find these players in the position. A key player for us for many many reasons, for the work ethic, can play six roles upfront – holding midfielder, position wingers, false nine, on both sides. Alternative we can use him during a game is massively important.
“Sometimes I need him in the positions where we think he can make a boost for us. He’s a typical no.10 behind the striker. The last two games against Tottenham and Everton they close the gaps behind, not easy to find. The most difficult part of the game, most difficult player is the striker because there are no spaces. When we make good build up we can find him without a problem.”
Guardiola discussed his selection headache when it comes to choosing his midfield and wide players, with Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne competing with Bernardo for a place in the centre.
“The last two games I play with Gundogan and Kevin who normally play in this position,” he said. “I want to use him wide but Raheem playing a good level and Riyad as well. I have to settle sometimes and figure out where are spaces and increase players close to the box and create lots of problems. Gabby and Jack were injured so I decided there for Bernardo.
“I said to him when you are in the middle and struggle to find the ball you can drop to the sides, right, left, smell the feeling, to try to become involved with the ball. Sometimes with Iwobi, Doucoure, Allan they close the gaps inside it’s not because Bernardo was bad.”