Guardiola sheds no light on emotional Kompany’s future at Manchester City
Kompany’s goal against Leicester was his first for 13 months and moved City one win away from reclaiming their Premier League title.
Pep Guardiola hailed Vincent Kompany as one of Manchester City’s all-time greats after his match-winning strike against Leicester but stopped short of guaranteeing he will be at the club next season.
Kompany’s 30-yard stunner in the 70th minute settled a tense night at the Etihad, and means the Premier League title race will go to the wire. City now know a win against Brighton on Sunday will ensure they retain their crown.
Their 33-year-old captain seems made for moments like this.
It was his goal in a Manchester derby seven years ago which set City on their way to a first title in 44 years.
His last three goals for the club have come in last season’s Carabao Cup final, a Manchester derby, and now this must-win game against the Foxes.
“This club has over a century of history and not a lot in the trophy cabinet but there are players who help us to be who we are today – Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany…” Guardiola said.
“When he is fit he is an incredible centre-back. Not just for the goal. He is our leader many times.”
But Kompany’s contract is up in the summer, and though Guardiola has spoken many times about handing the injury-plagued Belgian a new deal, nothing has been signed, with Kompany emotional as he led City’s lap of honour alone.
“We spoke with him and his agent,” Guardiola added. “At the end of the season we are going to talk to him.
“He is an incredible person and human being and he has helped me a lot. Always I was sad I could not use him a lot but this club is what it is because of players like Vincent.
“At the end of the season, after the FA Cup, we will see.”
Pushed, Guardiola would not offer any guarantees.
“We’ll finish the season and after we are going to talk,” he said. “We are going to take a beer together and decide what is best, especially for the club.”
City needed a strike like Kompany’s to finally breach Leicester, who denied Guardiola’s side the control of possession they crave, and threatened to snatch a goal on the counter several times.
Few would have backed Kompany when he took a couple of touches and prepared to shoot, including Guardiola.
“I said, ‘Don’t shoot, Vinnie, don’t shoot’,” Guardiola said. “He was smart for ignoring my thoughts. Incredible shot.”
The relief around the ground was enormous when the ball hit the net – City’s 100th goal in all competitions at the Etihad this season – but their work was not done against a Leicester side who refused to lie down.
They should arguably have equalised when former City youngster Kelechi Iheanacho, on as a substitute, got the ball on the edge of the area as the Foxes countered, only to send a tame shot comfortably wide.
“Kelechi should score,” Brendan Rodgers said. “I said that to him afterwards. There are not that many moments. They didn’t have many chances and nor did we. But the one that comes, you have to score that. He knows.”
"I think the performances that we’re starting to see now, especially against the big teams, bodes well for our future.”#MciLei— Leicester City (@LCFC) May 6, 2019
Rodgers, though, was proud of his side’s performance, and believes it offers a sign of things to come next season.
“Congratulations to Manchester City,” he said. “They won the game, it took an absolute worldy strike to score but we’re very proud and that gives us a great feeling for the future of this team.”
The win sees City move back above Liverpool, one point clear going into Sunday’s final round of matches, with Guardiola’s side at Brighton and Liverpool at home to Wolves.
There is still the chance of a domestic treble, with the FA Cup final against Watford to follow.
“We have two games to win two titles or to lose two titles,” Guardiola said. “We are going to go to Brighton and attack them and attack them and attack them to be champions.”