City not feel­ing blues over loss of Kom­pany

Manchester Evening News - - CITY - By STU­ART BRENNAN [email protected] @MENS­ports

PEP Guardi­ola re­fuses to ac­cept that City have missed Vin­cent Kom­pany this season.

The Blues head to Burn­ley 11 points be­hind lead­ers Liver­pool, hav­ing won just once in the last five games in all com­pe­ti­tions.

And with first choice cen­tre-back Aymeric La­porte in­jured, Guardi­ola has moved Fer­nand­inho back into de­fence to cover, af­ter the club failed to sign a re­place­ment for the Bel­gium in­ter­na­tional in the sum­mer.

Kom­pany’s in­jury record has meant he did not play a lot in the last three sea­sons, but he stepped in at vi­tal stages and was a key man – both as a player and a leader – at dif­fi­cult times last season.

City tried to bring in Harry Maguire to take his place but walked away from Le­ices­ter’s £80m val­u­a­tion, al­low­ing United to pay a world record fee for a de­fender to land him.

Fer­nand­inho has been City’s best cen­tral de­fender, with John Stones suf­fer­ing from in­jury and in­con­sis­tent form, and Ni­co­las Ota­mendi prov­ing prone to in­di­vid­ual mis­takes.

But when asked if City were miss­ing Kom­pany, who turned down the chance to stay in or­der to be­come player-coach at An­der­lecht, Guardi­ola re­fused to be drawn.

“Vin­cent de­cided to go to Bel­gium. We have an­other al­ter­na­tive – other play­ers and I’m think­ing of them,” he said.

And when asked whether the vet­eran cap­tain’s in­flu­ence was be­ing missed around the squad, he said: “No. This group is ex­tra­or­di­nary, the group is in­cred­i­ble.

“They take care of them­selves per­fectly and are an in­cred­i­ble unit.

Of course Vin­cent is/was an im­por­tant player and per­son for this club but he de­cided to go to Bel­gium and we have other in­cred­i­ble play­ers to do the job they have to do.”

City’s only de­fen­sive sign­ing in the sum­mer was right back Joao Cancelo, with Danilo go­ing the other way to Ju­ven­tus, when it seemed a cen­tre-back was pri­or­ity. Guardi­ola said that, once Maguire proved im­pos­si­ble, there was no other op­tion – and that, and Kom­pany’s de­ci­sion to go, meant Ni­co­las Ota­mendi

Pep Guardi­ola on Vin­cent Kom­pany

changed his mind about leav­ing.

“We could not sign a cen­tre-back. You know the his­tory, we could not sign it,” he said.

“Nico con­tin­ued and we de­cided to adapt Fer­nand­inho in this po­si­tion, and that’s all.

“Some­times the club wants to try to do their best but we can­not.

“We have to adapt and ad­just with the play­ers that we have and next season we will see.”

City leg­end Vin­cent Kom­pany

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