Newcastle v Man City player ratings: Gordon 8, Isak 7; Silva 8, De Bruyne 9

Premier League champions come from behind to earn last-gasp 3-2 victory at St James' Park

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Pep Guardiola said Manchester City showed the heart of champions as they fought back to beat Newcastle United 3-2 on Saturday thanks to a Kevin De Bruyne masterclass on his return to Premier League action.

The Belgian playmaker came off the bench to score one and set up Oscar Bobb's stoppage-time winner in his first league appearance in five months following injury.

Victory takes City up to second in the table, two points behind Liverpool, and ominously poised to strike when they return from a two-week winter break in Abu Dhabi, by which point Erling Haaland may be fit to join De Bruyne in terrorising opposition defences.

"That was really good, sometimes it is better winning that way," said Guardiola, who watched Bernardo Silva score with a superb backheel to put his team ahead in the first half.

"We played with a huge personality. They showed me they want to be there, to fight until the end that they want to retain the title."

A cruel late twist for Newcastle saw Eddie Howe's men succumb to a sixth defeat in their last seven Premier League games.

But after looking a threat on the counter-attack in the first half – when Alexander Isak and Anthony Gordon both scored with fine finishes – the Magpies ran out of steam after the break and were left holding on for much of the second period.

"Their quality told in the end. De Bruyne is obviously a world-class player," said Howe, who was publicly backed by the club's chief executive Darren Eales this week.

"There's not a lot wrong with our performances. You can see today we are a top team. The group is in a good place, I don't see any negativity. I see hurt because we aren't winning and that's what we're here to do."

Check out the photo gallery above for the player ratings from St James' Park. To move on to the next slide, click on the arrows or swipe if using a mobile device.

Updated: January 14, 2024, 4:11 AM