Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has claimed that it is frustrating to have to leave recent signing Bernardo Silva out of the first team picture.
The Portuguese international was crucial to AS Monaco’s first Ligue 1 title in over twenty years, and left the club in the summer alongside the likes of Tiemoue Bakayoko, Kylian Mbappe and Benjamin Mendy, with the latter joining him in Manchester.
Silva featured in all but one league game last season, yet has struggled to find that game time at City – starting just three times in the Premier League.
The 23-year-old has also only started just twice in the Champions League after missing just one fixture in the competition with the French champions but looks set to be in the starting lineup against Shakhtar Donetsk.
Despite arriving for a fee reported to be in the region of £43m, the attacking midfielder has been forced to feed off scraps for the large part but must be patient.
Indeed, Guardiola confronted the issue in his Champions League press conference ahead of the final group stage game against the Ukrainians, as quoted by Manchester Evening News.
“Leroy [Sane] needed time to adapt a bit – to the way we play. Bernardo doesn’t – he believes and is ready to play. It’s because I decide [that he does not play]. My feeling is that he’s playing at a high level.
“Leroy was not confident at the start of last season – he didn’t believe how good he was. Bernardo is very good. It’s so difficult to leave him out. Bernardo is in the same situation as Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero.”
While Benjamin Mendy waltzed into the first-team picture on account of little competition – prior to injury – Bernardo has found his route to the pitch blocked by the likes of Sane, Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and namesake David Silva.
Of all the Sky Blues squad, Bernardo has played the fourth least minutes, behind Eliaquim Mangala, Yaya Toure and the injury-prone Ilkay Gundogan.