Pep Guardiola praised Vincent Kompany’s return from injury. The Manchester City captain’s return was called a “huge step” in the right direction by the team’s manager.
Kompany didn’t waste any time in making an impact upon his return. The Belgian scored his first goal at Etihad Stadium since August 2015. Man. City ended winning the game against Crystal Palace with a comfortable 5-0.
Manchester City has had several problems this season. It is safe to safe that most of those had to do with defensive errors. Kompany’s absence was also felt in terms of leadership. The defender is back in the team and he has now played in five of the last six games for City. It is interesting to note that this is the total number of games he was involved in last season before injury cut it short.
“It’s a huge step,” Guardiola said of the player’s return. “When we spoke this season with Vincent, we said don’t put on pressure. You have to be able to train regularly and then play one game. After that another game, and then another one. He did it [again] for 90 minutes. That’s not happened since a long, long time ago.”
Guardiola went on to speak about the importance Kompany’s absence has made on City’s results. “I didn’t speak with him but I’m pretty sure [former City manager] Manuel Pellegrini missed him a lot last season, for the last two seasons. ”
“Of course we missed him a lot. He is a real central defender. I said many times, for a central defender, how many duals do you win with the striker? More than him – then you are a central defender. And he wins a lot.”
Excellent win for us with 5 goals #inSané #LS19 #MCICRY @ManCity @premierleaguepic.twitter.com/jVy2I7ELvD
— Leroy Sané (@LeroySane19) May 6, 2017
Guardiola was also asked if fans can expect to see Kompany in the team for most of the games in the next season. The manager was realistic and said that as important as he is, they will need to try to rest the player in some games. In this way the defender will have fewer chances of being injured.
“Hopefully but we have to cover our backs a little bit,” Guardiola added. “We cannot have all the confidence he will be fit because of the experience of the last years. We have to have back-ups in case something happens.
“But you have the feeling now, when the opponents cross the ball, ‘wow, is Vinny there?’. Maybe they are going to score a goal, Arsenal scored a goal [in last month’s FA Cup semi-final defeat] when Vinny was there in the six-yard box, so that can happen.
“But you have the feeling when they cross, or when you cross on a corner and a free-kick, that you are there. That feeling is important in this league. It is really important to have people to win duals with the head and Vincent in that is really good.”
Manchester City are on track to end the season in one of the top four positions. Liverpool is currently the team’s biggest rival for this objective. However, Guardiola pointed out at that at the moment doing so is entirely in City’s hands which relieves players of some of the stress.