Wednesday 21 March 2018

Pellegrini rushes to Kompany's defence

Manchester City captain, Vincent Kompany, has the support of Pellgrini despite his muted form last season
Manchester City captain, Vincent Kompany, has the support of Pellgrini despite his muted form last season

Andy Hampson

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has backed captain Vincent Kompany to return to his best this season.

The usually dependable Kompany endured an indifferent campaign as City finished a distant second to Chelsea last term.

City conceded an average of a goal a game, and Pellegrini wants to see improvement, but he is confident the experienced Kompany will lead the way, starting at West Brom tomorrow night.

"I trust a lot in Vincent," said Pellegrini. "It is always important to analyse why we concede 38 goals, and more than 35 per cent were from set-pieces. So it is important to concentrate on the second balls and not to concede so many free-kicks or corners.

"I don't think defending comes from just one player - it comes from the team. Last season was also a good experience for Vincent and I am sure we will see the player we saw playing so well two years ago."

Defensive issues have remained a problem throughout pre-season, with City losing 4-1 to Real Madrid a fortnight ago, and then conceding another four before half-time against Stuttgart last weekend.

Pellegrini insists the matter was not serious last season, but acknowledges the backline must tighten up. "We were not a disaster in defence last season, but I think 38 goals conceded in 38 games is too much. I think a team that wants to win a title must concede not more than 30 or 31 goals."

Pellegrini, who has signed a contract extension to 2017, has rarely deviated from his preferred attacking style during his first two seasons at the Etihad Stadium.

He proved doubters wrong by winning two trophies in 2014, and insists last season's shortcomings were more down to a lack of concentration than a fault with the system. "We didn't win the title, but we continued being an attacking team. Maybe we needed to be a more competitive team or play with more concentration in some games that maybe we thought were easy games," he said.

"There are many things we expect to improve this season, but no change in style of play because I am absolutely sure it is the best way to win."

Sunday Indo Sport

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport