Wednesday 20 September 2017

Kompany should remember who pays him – Mancini

Vincent Kompany, right, in the thick of the action for Belgium against Macedonia
Vincent Kompany, right, in the thick of the action for Belgium against Macedonia

Chris Bascombe

Manchester CIty boss Roberto Mancini has accused his captain Vincent Kompany of putting his country's interests above his club's by playing for Belgium in the World Cup qualifiers.

Mancini says Kompany defied his request not to feature in his nation's fixture against Macedonia on Tuesday, suggesting that the 26-year-old risked further damage to a lingering calf injury.

Kompany played for 90 minutes despite having missed the last two months of City's Premier League campaign. Mancini did not disguise his irritation at the manner in which his instructions were ignored.

Having earlier blamed Belgian coach Marc Wilmots for going against his advice and selecting Kompany, Mancini went further by revealing that it was actually his captain who had insisted on joining his national squad.

"Sometimes players should understand that the club is more important," Mancini said. "I am not saying the national team is not important, and I would never tell my players not to go to play for their country. But there are some cases when the club is more important, and all players should understand this.

"(International) managers sometimes don't understand the reality of the situation. The responsibility is also sometimes with the player. I have talked to him (Kompany), but I can't put him in jail for two weeks. I knew he was joining up and asked him to stay here for treatment. I didn't want him to play because it was a risk, and for us the next two months are really important.

"He said the manager had called him, and he should go. It is right that he should go and meet with the Belgium medical people, but then he should come back. It was important that Vinny should work here and prepare for the next game, and the next two months.

"I expected that he wouldn't play, and that he would be back after one or two days. Instead, he played for 90 minutes and now we don't know his condition. The calf is a difficult injury and we don't know if he will be okay or not."

Mancini's annoyance is no doubt exacerbated by the contrast across Manchester where Alex Ferguson's desire for Rio Ferdinand not to be over-exerted during the international break was adhered to.

There is a certain irony that City's unfit central defender willingly featured for his country, while United's fully fit one pulled out. In the Kompany case, Mancini said that he was helpless because of his defender's wish to join his Belgian team-mates.

"I tried to talk to the Belgian manager three months ago when Vinny was injured, but he probably didn't understand very well," the Italian said.

"I don't want Vinny not to go to the national team, but when he is injured it is impossible. It is not right. For 60 days he didn't play for us, we did everything, and then he goes to play for the national team.

"If he has another injury, or if he is not ready to play for us on Saturday, and we lose him for another month, it is not right. These players play for their clubs and the clubs pay their salary.

"I don't know if he is okay to play for us on Saturday or not. The week before the international break he was not fit to play for us."

advantage

City face Newcastle United tomorrow with Mancini having conceded the title to United. The mammoth 15-point gap may be extended before City kick off, and the Italian knows United will not give up their advantage now.

"The title race is over but that changes nothing as we should do our best from now until the end of the season," the City manager said.

"Top teams, even when they can't win the title, should try to play well and win games. I was really unhappy after the Everton game, and I didn't want to say bad things. It's now in the past but I was disappointed with our performance. I was upset. We had 22 shots on goal and didn't score.

"It is the same problem. We are not scoring enough goals to win games. It is a problem we have had all year, and we didn't play well."

Mancini's own position continues to come under scrutiny given the gulf in points between the neighbouring Manchester clubs, but he once again dismissed any suggestion that he is worried about his job security. "I will stay here for a long time," he said.

Mancini also played down fears that Yaya Toure would quit City at the end of the season amid suggestions that the African was seeking talks on his future. "Yaya is one of the best players in the world," he said, "and he will stay here for another three, four or five years. A long time." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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