Erling Haaland may have grabbed headlines with two goals and an assist as Manchester City ran out 3-0 winners at Old Trafford on Sunday night. Paul Bernardo Silva was the engine room for City against Manchester United who have become one of his favourite opponents.
The City midfielder was impeccable on the night with his silky moves, second to none ball distribution skills, exceptional ability to exploit the spaces and an extraordinary work ethic. He capped off an impressive performance with an assist for Erling Haaland’s second goal.
On a night where City as a team was on another level, Silva was superb. It’s surprising how underrated the Portuguese is in world football. Pep Guardiola tried to give an explanation for it in his post-match press conference.
“I could say how good he is but I’d spend ten minutes talking about what Bernardo means for me and this team. He’s so good in all departments, all departments, we are in love with him,” Guardiola said.
“The problem is he has no big cars, no tattoos, doesn’t dress like higher style,” the manager said. “He’s humble, everybody loves him in the locker room. We were scared to lose him. He is irreplaceable. He’s happy here, now he is a father. He said [before the game] he loves to play here at Old Trafford and every time he comes here he performs well.”
For a player who came close to leaving the club in the last couple of seasons, he showed at Old Trafford just why City will be glad to have him continue at the Etihad Stadium for some more years.
Alongside Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri, he has been one of the most important players for Pep Guardiola and City in the last few years. From lung-busting performances to see City through when the team needs to get over the line, to standing out in the most important games to help secure vital wins. The midfielder never disappoints.
He hardly gets injured and rarely has a bad game. He has played in defence for City, calls the midfield his best position, plays through the wings better than most wingers in world football. But he is not one to complain about where the manager wants him to play.
Most times Guardiola just gives him the freedom to roam all over the pitch. In that role he can be found everywhere, putting out fires and getting the team on the front foot.
He has also featured as a striker for City, playing as a false nine.
In the end, Guardiola’s comments say it all. “So good in all departments… he is irreplaceable…”