Tuesday 25 July 2017

Vincent Kompany: Palace win a big step towards Champions League qualification

Vincent Kompany thought Manchester City were impressive against Crystal Palace
Vincent Kompany thought Manchester City were impressive against Crystal Palace

Vincent Kompany felt Manchester City had taken a huge step towards Champions League qualification after thrashing Crystal Palace 5-0 on Saturday.

City tightened their grip on one of the Premier League's top four places with as convincing a performance as they have produced under Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium.

Their battle with Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal for the third and fourth spots remains a tight one but, with three games to play, they have points on the board and a healthier goal difference.

City captain Kompany said: "It was massive, and especially for the goal difference, winning 5-0.

"I don't think you can set out and say you want to win 5-0 - first of all you want to win - but then when you do it you realise it was a big result and a big performance. It's all in our hands and it's a good feeling."

City got off to a flying start as the outstanding David Silva, who passed a fitness test on a hamstring injury to play, opened the scoring after two minutes.

It was his 50th goal for the club and set the tone for a commanding display.

Palace did well to prevent further damage before half-time although, r emarkably, they did almost equalise when Christian Benteke forced a fine save from Willy Caballero. City eased to victory in the second half, however. Kompany, Kevin De Bruyne - who also hit the bar - Raheem Sterling and Nicolas Otamendi all got on the scoresheet.

"In the second half, really everything unfolded the way we wanted it to happen," Kompany said. "Early second goal and then from that moment onwards we looked like scoring more."

Kompany also paid tribute to playmaker Silva, who along with De Bruyne was one of the game's most impressive performers.

"Quite simply David Silva is the wizard," he said. "He knows which pass to pick. As much quality as we have in the team, there is only David that can pick certain passes and I think he sets the tone with that.

"It is incredible to see his ability and make what is the hardest pass in football, that last pass."

The game was also Kompany's fifth successive start and the Belgian was pleased to be talking about his football again after two frustrating, injury-hit seasons.

The 31-year-old said: "The (injury) story is done now. I am playing, I am happy. I'm just glad to be able to contribute.

"My level has been good since I came back and I work hard to be able to perform at the same level.

"In that case I can be pretty satisfied - but I am mainly satisfied about the (team) performance."

Palace could not reflect with the same optimism. After moving to the brink of safety with a fine run of form through March and April, Sam Allardyce's side have still not made their top-flight status mathematically certain.

With a four-point cushion, the odds remain in their favour but next week's clash with 18th-placed Hull could be a tense affair.

Allardyce said: "Let's bounce back. What they have got to remember is, what their best game. Focus on what your best game was recently, or your best two games, and put that in your mind for the rest of the week and say to yourself on a daily basis, 'That is what I am going to produce next week'.

"Mindful rehearsal is very important in our game. If they get that positive thinking going right from the start of the week, inevitably it will help them with what could be a nervy state of affairs next Sunday."

Press Association

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