Sport Soccer

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Vincent Kompany defends decision to play for Belgium

Published 26/10/2015 | 22:36

Vincent Kompany, right, returned to the Manchester City defence on Sunday
Vincent Kompany, right, returned to the Manchester City defence on Sunday

Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany has no regrets about going against his manager's wishes and playing for Belgium against Israel.

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Prior to Sunday's 0-0 draw against Manchester United, City boss Manuel Pellegrini left Kompany out of his starting line-up for the previous two matches.

The Chilean was unhappy with the centre-back, and Belgium coach Marc Wilmots, for fielding the player in the Euro 2016 qualifier against Israel in Brussels even though the hosts had already secured qualification.

The 29-year-old admits it is difficult juggling the demands of club and country, but appears to be happy with his decision to play.

"For now, in the past and the future, it's always going to be a little bit of a tricky situation," Kompany said.

"They (City and Belgium) are two very important teams that have different goals and ambitions and it's just normal that stuff like this happens.

"I would not have played if I was not fit. But I'm a professional and I don't need too much explanation. I just deal with it. I dealt with my decision and I didn't have a problem with it."

Pellegrini insisted he was not "punishing" Kompany by leaving him out of the team for the games against Bournemouth and Sevilla.

And the player himself dismissed claims that he had fallen out with his manager over the matter.

''There is no problem with me and the manager,'' he said.

The Belgian accepted his demotion without questioning his manager, it seems.

"I'm a professional. I don't need anyone giving me any explanation," Kompany said when asked how he felt about being dropped.

"It's fine. I work hard, always. I'm always positive for the team.

"It's not at 29 that I need too much explanation any more.

"Every single time I've had the chance to put my boots on this term I've done very well, with my national team and club.

"I'm a team player. We all want to achieve the same thing in the end. If other players do well I'm by definition also satisfied."

And Kompany says he had no problem with Pellegrini last week suggesting he no longer has a guaranteed first-team place at City either.

"It's always been the case at City. There's been as many defenders for that position since I've been there," he said.

"It's not just one season when there's been big signings and big players come in. It's necessary.

"Sometimes you get the best out of a team with that competition but that's true for every position, not just my position."

Kompany's performance, and that of his centre-back partner Nicolas Otamendi, helped City grind out at goalless draw at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The 170th meeting between the two sides was one of the most boring in recent memory.

Yaya Toure missed a couple of half-chances before the break and Chris Smalling drew a late save from Joe Hart, but otherwise there were few moments of excitement.

Kompany admits the City fans will not remember the derby fondly, but the point the Blues gained at Old Trafford meant they moved to the top of the table.

He added: "Both teams wanted to protect a good position in the league.

"The fact that it's a draw is still good for us and good for United.

"Losing would have been a problem for us and a problem for them as well.

"I predict a very different derby when we actually have to win the game and that will be the case when the next one comes around."

Press Association

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