> United ap­proach could favour City – Kompany

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

MANCH­ESTER CITY cap­tain Vincent Kompany be­lieves bit­ter ri­vals Manch­ester United have handed his team an ad­van­tage by play­ing down tonight’s League Cup lo­cal derby at Old Traf­ford.

The in­jury-plagued Bel­gium in­ter­na­tional de­fender started a game for the first time since April in Sun­day’s 1-1 Premier League draw with Southamp­ton and came through un­scathed as City gained a point that put them top of the ta­ble on goal dif­fer­ence.

Now Kompany hopes to re­tain his place for the EFL Cup fourthround tie, es­pe­cially as United man­ager Jose Mour­inho – beaten 4-0 at his old side Chelsea on Sun­day – has de­scribed the com­pe­ti­tion as be­ing fourth on his club’s list of pri­or­i­ties.

“It’s just phys­i­cally im­pos­si­ble for me to play down a derby,” said Kompany, 30. “But the more they say this is the fourth com­pe­ti­tion, the bet­ter it is for us.

“Am I look­ing for­ward to Wed­nes­day? Come on, al­ways. The big­ger the game, the bet­ter.

“That’s how I’ve al­ways ap­proached it in my ca­reer and I will for the rest of my ca­reer. Those games are what you play for.”

City hold the League Cup af­ter beat­ing Liver­pool on penal­ties in a Wem­b­ley fi­nal in Fe­bru­ary, but they make the jour­ney across Manch­ester on a run of five league and cup games without vic­tory.

How­ever, the re­turn of a fully fit Kompany is a ma­jor boost for a City de­fence that ap­pears de­ter­mined to im­plode at least once a game.

Kompany, re­garded as one of the top cen­tre­backs in the Premier League, has suf­fered a mam­moth 34 in­juries in his eight years with the Blues.

The ma­jor­ity of his in­jury his­tory re­lates to ham­string and, par­tic­u­larly, calf prob­lems, although Kompany’s lat­est is­sue has con­cerned his groin.

“It’s hard to come back, ob­vi­ously, but I know what I have to do to be back at my level,” said the City stal­wart.

“I’m al­ways con­fi­dent. The last thing I want to do, when you’ve lived through your ca­reer as a foot­baller, is give up.

“If I give up then I know the out­come. But if I carry on, there’s al­ways a chance that I’ll re­live those mo­ments. So my mo­ti­va­tion can never be in doubt.

“God knows what would have hap­pened if I’d never had those in­juries but I need to get some­thing that makes me stronger out of it, some­thing dif­fer­ent from other play­ers, and that’s what I be­lieve in.”

City man­ager Pep Guardi­ola is look­ing to end an un­usu­ally bar­ren spell by his high stan­dards and fol­low­ing City’s lat­est dis­ap­point­ment against Southamp­ton he kept his play­ers locked in the dress­ing room for nearly an hour.

Kompany de­clined to dis­cuss specif­i­cally what was said dur­ing the in­quest but ac­cepts that the play­ers should shoul­der their share of crit­i­cism.

“We’re adults, we’re all highly am­bi­tious and we re­alise that we have to move as a unit and be­have as a team and I think any­thing in the dress­ing room stays in the dress­ing room,” he said.

“But I think it’s pos­i­tive to have some sort of ma­tu­rity in the team, to recog­nise we need to move for­ward, but to have a pos­i­tive spirit and, as I said, these kind of re­sults some­times give you some­thing ex­tra – and that’s what we need to get out of it.” – AFP

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