CLUBWATCH

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FOOTBALL - MANCHESTERCITY MANCHESTERUNITED TOTTENHAMHOTSPUR

Cap­tain Vin­cent Kom­pany can­not ex­pect an au­to­matic place in the Manch­ester City side when he re­turns from in­jury, man­ager Pep Guardi­ola has warned.

But Guardi­ola also says nei­ther John Stones nor Ni­co­las Ota­mendi, who have im­pressed in the Bel­gian’s ab­sence in cen­tral de­fence, will re­tain their po­si­tions by de­fault.

The influential Kom­pany will soon be back in con­tention after suf­fer­ing a thigh in­jury in last sea­son’s Cham­pi­ons League semi-fi­nal loss to Real Madrid. His im­mi­nent avail­abil­ity points to a se­lec­tion headache for Guardi­ola, but the for­mer Barcelona and Bay­ern Mu­nich coach in­sists that is more of an is­sue for the play­ers than him.

Guardi­ola said: “For me, when he’s ready, how dif­fi­cult [will it be]? Ab­so­lutely noth­ing. They have to com­pete with each other and we’ll see on the pitch what is the best for that game. That is the best way to ar­rive in April or May with a chance to fight to win the ti­tles.” Jose Mour­inho wants Paul Pogba to for­get his world-record price tag and show Manch­ester United his true qual­ity.

A sum­mer of dis­cus­sion bore fruit five weeks ago when the open secret of the 23-year-old’s Old Traf­ford re­turn from Ju­ven­tus was made of­fi­cial. United paid an eye-wa­ter­ing £89m to bring back a player who left them four years ear­lier in search of first-team foot­ball, with a fur­ther £4.25m due if cer­tain tar­gets are met – a price tag that ap­peared to weigh heav­ily in the dis­ap­point­ing de­feats by Manch­ester City and Feyeno­ord.

Mour­inho had ex­pected the French­man’s tail-off after his bright start to life at United, and now wants him to block out the back­ground noise that comes with his sta­tus.

Mour­inho said: “I just want Paul to for­get [the fee] and to play his foot­ball. It’s nor­mal that after the first game he has a lit­tle de­crease, but I am full of trust with him be­cause I know the player he is.” Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino claims he has to be cruel to be kind with Tot­ten­ham’s young play­ers after ac­cus­ing them of lack­ing pas­sion against Monaco on Wed­nes­day.

Spurs lost their open­ing Cham­pi­ons League en­counter 2-1 at Wem­b­ley and af­ter­wards Po­chet­tino crit­i­cised his side for their de­fen­sive er­rors and poor at­ti­tude.

It was an un­usual re­ac­tion from Po­chet­tino, who rarely ques­tions the ap­pli­ca­tion of his squad and has al­ways been ea­ger to cham­pion the worth of his younger tal­ents.

“I was a per­son that liked the re­al­ity, that they never lied to me,” Po­chet­tino said. “If I was s***, I was s***. But I need to know some­times be­cause when you are young, you need to know the re­al­ity.

“And some­times you need peo­ple to say, ‘Hey, come on, what hap­pened with you?’”

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