De Bruyne, City’s outstanding player last season, is expected to be out for up to three months after suffering knee ligament damage during a training session last Wednesday.
The Belgian watched from the Etihad stands on Sunday as City thrashed Huddersfield Town 6-1 in their first outing since his injury.
Even without De Bruyne to call upon, City could afford to put out an impressive starting line-up and keep the likes of Leroy Sané, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez in reserve.
Pep Guardiola also gave Phil Foden, the highly-rated academy product, a cameo appearance, with the teenager replacing Ilkay Gundogan in the closing stages.
Bernardo, who started as a right wing-back on Sunday, admits losing De Bruyne is a blow but claims there is more than enough quality in City’s “fantastic” squad to compensate for his absence.
“Obviously Kevin is one of the most important players for our team,” he said.
“Last season he was – if not the best player in the Premier League – one of the best. He is a fantastic player, one of the best midfielders in the world.
“It’s kind of a blow for us but we have other options as well. It means opportunities are opening for other players and that is good as well.”
Bernardo added: “It is a fantastic squad. Even with Kevin injured we still have a lot of options, so the players on the bench today were some of the best players in the Premier League.
“We know the squad we have and everyone has to work hard to have the place in the team. That’s good because it keeps everyone entertained and everyone knows how hard he has to work to play.”
Bernardo is one such player who has had to work for his place in Guardiola’s line-up.
The Portugal international spent last season on the fringes of City’s first-choice side and made many appearances as a substitute.
Bernardo has completed 90 minutes in all three of City’s games this season, however, and Guardiola recently summed his team up as Bernardo “and 10 others”.
“I’m happy I’m helping the team and I’m working as hard as I can to have my place and play as many minutes as I can and help the team get as many wins as we can,” the 24-year-old said.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies