Sunday 25 February 2018

Kompany eyes title charge

Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany is determined to make life more difficult for Chelsea this season
Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany is determined to make life more difficult for Chelsea this season

Skipper Vincent Kompany has admitted Manchester City made it too easy for Chelsea to claim the Barclays Premier League title last season.

The Blues enjoyed a relative stroll to glory as they finished eight points ahead of nearest rivals City at the top of the table.

As they returned for pre-season on Tuesday, Kompany and his team-mates had not forgotten the ease with which Chelsea de-throned them, and work to ensure there is no repeat this time around is now starting in earnest.

The Belgium international told Sky Sports: "It was a disappointment for City, it was a disappointment for every single player at the club.

"Obviously Kun [Sergio Aguero] and Joe Hart got some rewards, which still gave us a good feeling as well, but it shows what the club wants to achieve because we finished second, so there's a lot of other clubs behind us still.

"But Chelsea kind of ran away with it and it was too early, too easy, and we can't afford that any more this season.

"We have been competitive for the past four or five years now, so that won't change. But we lost the league last year - and it happens. You can't win every single year, the same as Chelsea two years ago - they didn't win the league, we did.

"But you want it to be a tight race and whenever we won it, it was always a tight race, so we'd like to be in there at least to the end, and if we have a really good season, we can maybe change the roles a little bit and just get to the end in a confident manner."

With the summer transfer market now in full swing, City, like their competitors, will be hoping to make key additions to strengthen a squad already packed with talent.

They have been persistently linked with Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling, Juventus star Paul Pogba and Wolfsburg's Kevin de Bruyne among others, and while Kompany is confident they will reinforce Manuel Pellegrini's armoury, he knows competition will be stiff.

Asked about the transfer market, he said: "It's the key to the success of any top club.

"It's maybe not always the amount of players that come, but I think that every top club in the world will be looking to add maybe two or three quality players to make the team just that little bit stronger, and if you don't do it, then you are exposed to other teams becoming stronger.

"It's just nothing more than usual for us in the transfer window, and I'm hoping and confident that we will make the right signings.

"I'm not too much into the specifics, but there are not so many top players and there are a few clubs who will probably be after the same players.

"I think we have an attractive proposition here - we obviously have the facilities, we have the increased capacity of the stadium and everything we want to achieve in the future. But some clubs have got the history.

"Players choose different things at times. You just can't guess."

Many had expected City to be starting the new season without midfielder Yaya Toure, who had seemed set on a move away this summer.

But after talks with the club hierarchy, the Ivory Coast international reaffirmed his commitment to City and on Tuesday he outlined his hopes for the new campaign.

"I'm just really looking forward to next season and it feels great to be back," he said on the club's website.

"I'm going to work as hard as I can in pre-season and we're already looking forward to playing in front of our own fans again in six weeks or so."

The 32-year-old added: "I'm not the biggest fan of pre-season if I'm honest, but we all know we have to prepare well and eat properly so we're good to go at the start of the season.

"As for predictions, I don't want to say we'll do this or that - just that we have our targets and we want to make the fans and this club proud. Last season was disappointing by our own standards because we know we could have done better.

"We are looking forward to welcoming some new players as well which will strengthen the team and together we want to achieve something really big this year. We are looking forward to bouncing back very strongly."

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