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City 'will manage' without Kompany

Manuel Pellegrini (inset) is confident his defence will stand up to the test in the absence of captain Vincent Kompany today.

Manchester City's influential captain is suspended for the visit of struggling Fulham in the Premier League after seeing red at Hull last Saturday.

With Matija Nastasic nursing a knee injury, that could mean the much-maligned Martin Demichelis and Joleon Lescott, who endured a torrid time at Barcelona last week, are again partnered at the back.

City's defence has been one of their weaknesses all season and they looked particularly vulnerable when Kompany endured an injury-hit first three months of the campaign.

But Pellegrini said of the Belgian: "He is a very important player but we have had so many injuries during the whole year from different players and always we have managed to play well.

"I am sure the players who will play tomorrow instead of Vincent will play well."

Pellegrini also admits to having fitness concerns about Nastasic, who has missed the last eight games in all competitions with a knee injury and has been out much longer than initially anticipated.

PAIN

The Chilean said: "He continues with some pain in his knee. He has at least a couple more weeks to recover.

"The player feels a pain inside the knee but nobody knows what the pain is."

City have a tough week ahead, with the Fulham clash followed by the derby at champions Manchester United on Tuesday and then a trip to title rivals Arsenal.

Pellegrini's men also have games against Chelsea and Liverpool to come.

Yet for now his only focus is bottom side Fulham and what could be a tricky contest.

He said: "I think it is just a very tough game. All the teams in the last position – not only in the relegation positions but in the last position in the table in the second round (of fixtures) – try to add points everywhere.

"A team like Fulham are used to defending and I am sure we need to work very hard during the 95 minutes if we want to win."


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