The £55.4m summer signing from Rennes scored the opener and added four assists as City cruised to a 6-1 Premier League success against Bournemouth.
Doku is noted for his direct running but his contribution to second-half goals for Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva were superb – the first involving a delicate pass to set the England man up, the second a sweeping cross-field pass that created the opening for a delicate chipped finish Guardiola likened to Lionel Messi.
“He creates something for the crowd,” said Guardiola. “When he takes the ball everyone gets excited – me too.”
Doku’s opener came after he feigned to shoot from the edge of the area but instead played a precise one-two with Rodri before delivering a shot to the corner.
He beat the close attentions of the Bournemouth defence before cutting the ball back from the by-line to create City’s second for Bernardo on a day when striker Erling Haaland only lasted 45 minutes after suffering a twisted ankle that makes him a doubt for Tuesday’s Champions League encounter with Swiss side Young Boys.
It was a terrific performance from someone who needed a bit of cajoling from his manager to deliver the kind of skills that brought him to City’s attention in the first place.
“The first game I saw him in was on TV against Fulham when I was recovering with my back,” he said. “He was so shy.
“We talked about that. I asked him why he was here, why Manchester City had decided to invest in him. For his skills. What are his skills? Dribbling, be aggressive. Had he done it all his life? Do it [here].
“It is difficult to find a player today with the ability to dribble in small spaces. He’s one of the fastest players in 5m. It’s incredible how he can change the rhythm in 5m.”
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Guardiola plays down Haaland injury concern
In beating Bournemouth, City extended their record of winning every home game they have played in all competitions in 2023 to 22. They are now on a run of 14 successive victories against Bournemouth. Their 13 straight league wins against the Cherries is a Premier League record.
And, as Guardiola pointed out, they achieved their biggest win of the season without any significant contribution from Haaland, who evidently felt pain in his ankle just before the break and flexed his leg a couple of times as he spoke to Julian Alvarez on his way to the dressing room.
At Borussia Dortmund, Haaland had injury issues which led to three absences of around a month. Since he came to the Premier League, the most he has sat out is a couple of matches.
However, Guardiola didn’t seem too concerned about the Norwegian, who has scored 65 times in 69 games for City.
“It was a twist with the ankle,” he said.
“I didn’t speak with the doctors. We will see in the next days… but hopefully,” added Guardiola in relation to the Young Boys game.
Scott’s Bournemouth injury fear
Bournemouth suffered another significant blow in addition to damage to their goal difference on a day when even limited pre-match expectations proved beyond them.
Young midfielder Alex Scott only made his debut a fortnight ago after arriving from Bristol City in the summer with an injury.
The 20-year-old, nicknamed the Guernsey Grealish after an impressive performance for his old club in this same stadium last season, appeared to be running off a dead leg when he was confronted by Rodri in the City box.
The block tackle that resulted left Scott on the floor and in obvious pain. There was no chance of him continuing and as the £25m man was helped to the dressing room, Iraola had a consoling word.
“It is the other knee, something inside it,” said Iraola.
“He says it doesn’t feel it is bad but until he has been seen by the doctors we cannot say.”