Pep Guardiola claimed David Silva could still play anywhere as he saluted a masterful display in Manchester City’s 5-0 thrashing of Newcastle on Wednesday.
The 34-year-old playmaker, who is leaving the club at the end of the season after a decade’s outstanding service, starred with a goal and two assists as the Magpies were outclassed at the Etihad Stadium.
Silva teed up Gabriel Jesus to begin the rout, curled home a brilliant free-kick for the fourth and then played in Raheem Sterling to wrap up the scoring in a one-sided Premier League contest.
Unfortunately for the Spaniard there were no fans in the ground to appreciate his performance, but Guardiola is determined a fitting tribute will be paid to Silva’s when the time is right.
The City manager said: “What we want is, when people come back to the Etihad Stadium, to do a farewell game for him, and to say hi to one of the legends of the club.
“When we need to play in small spaces he is maybe the best. Moving between the lines I have never seen someone like him.
“He came back from lockdown in incredible top form and with incredible rhythm. Of course if he decides to play, he can play anywhere. There are no doubts about this.”
The result did not seem in doubt from the moment Jesus opened the scoring on 10 minutes. Riyad Mahrez added the second 11 minutes later and Federico Fernandez diverted into his own net before Silva and Sterling finished the job.
After Sunday’s loss at Southampton, City were back showing the ruthlessness that saw them hammer new champions Liverpool last week.
This is the level Guardiola demands as he prepares for crunch games in the FA Cup and Champions League.
He said: “I don’t know how many times we have scored five goals since I have been here but I think it was a lot. That is the way we want to play – scoring goals, to respect this game, and prepare well for our FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal and the second leg against Real Madrid.”
Of concern to City maybe recent rumours linking their impressive 19-year-old centre-back Eric Garcia with his boyhood club Barcelona.
Guardiola said: “We’re going to try to convince him to stay here for many, many, many years. I’m confident he will stay but, at the end, it’s his decision.”
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce admitted his side were outclassed.
He said: “We have got to be brutally honest and say we did not do enough to lay a glove on them.
“They were far too good for us in all departments but the manner of it upsets me greatly. We have to be better than that.”
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