City must not repeat cup comedown, says Kompany
Having just delivered a man-of-the-match performance, Vincent Kompany emerged from Manchester City's winning Wembley dressing room on Sunday to deliver a warning that underlined his colossal off-field influence.
Asked about Manchester City's previous League Cup-winning team in 2016 Kompany's mind switched to how they dealt with the challenge that awaits on Thursday - that of coming down from such a high before facing the same Wembley opponents in the league.
"We got spanked," he said, in reference to a 3-0 defeat against Liverpool.
"Experience is a great thing so (we try to avoid a repeat) by mentioning what happened and then by not forgetting how we got there."
The conversation soon turned to comparisons between City's five previous trophies since Sheikh Mansour's 2008 takeover and what feels now like the start of a new era under Pep Guardiola, but Kompany's wider message was constant.
While others might already rate this City team as their finest, the captain is withholding judgment until rather more than just one Premier League title has been won.
City were also champions in 2012 and 2014, but Kompany is acutely aware that only two teams - Manchester United and Chelsea - have won the Premier League in consecutive seasons.
"If we can win the Premier League then go again and again, then this team will be better than the previous one," he said. "I want to keep that hunger in the team, so I don't want to put people on a pedestal when we haven't achieved all of our targets yet."
Where City could genuinely set themselves apart from their predecessors is in the Champions League. They are already virtually assured of a quarter-final place after a 4-0 first-leg demolition of Basel, but Kompany does not yet put them up as tournament favourites alongside Real Madrid and Barcelona.
"There is belief but we are not favourites above the big ones Madrid and Barcelona," he said. "We're trying to fight our way in there and maybe shake things up a little bit. It's too early to call it. We have to be careful about saying too much."
City's performances have spoken eloquently enough and Kompany's reaction to scoring their second goal against Arsenal on Sunday, after 41 injuries and having played fewer than 30 per cent of the matches under Guardiola, was revealing. "It means the world to me," he said. "It's just pure emotion." (© Daily Telegraph, London)