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Borussia Monchengladbach v Man City: Guardiola is left frustrated by Kompany's latest injury

By Tim Rich

Published 23/11/2016

Deja vu: Vincent Kompany’s face says it all as he leaves City’s victory
over Crystal Palace early with a knee ligament injury
Deja vu: Vincent Kompany’s face says it all as he leaves City’s victory over Crystal Palace early with a knee ligament injury
Grounded: Pep Guardiola has moved on from the win over Barca

Vincent Kompany is one of the many for whom the end of 2016 cannot come soon enough. The Manchester City captain had already spent 37 weeks of the year out with a variety of injuries and now there is a fresh one to battle.

His manager, Pep Guardiola, revealed that Kompany picked up a knee ligament injury during Saturday's 2-1 win at Crystal Palace and will be out for several more weeks.

This is Kompany's 35th separate injury since he came to City in 2008 and, given that Guardiola had serious doubts about his long-term prospects when he arrived at the Etihad, he is likely to step up the search for a replacement in the January transfer window.

Thus far, Kompany's involvement in City's Premier League campaign has been 116 minutes of football over three matches. For a man who can be counted one of City's great players, his career appears to be closing amid pain and frustration.

The latest setback would, Guardiola estimated, cost the 30-year-old a minimum of four weeks and it remains to be seen whether he will think it worth including Kompany in their Champions League squad when the competition reopens in February.

As he prepared to face Borussia Monchengladbach, Guardiola pointed out that City had not yet qualified for the knockouts, although a draw against a side whose Bundesliga form has collapsed should get them there.

"He is sad about it," said Guardiola of Kompany. "I am sad. He is a good chap and it is a long time. He is in the best hands. I am told it is not a serious knee ligament injury. That would be six months. This is weeks."

This is City's first outing in the Champions League since they took Barcelona apart at the Etihad. It was said to be the night that the modern City arrived as a major European force. As he mulled over that game in the team hotel in Dusseldorf, Guardiola was inclined to play the result down.

Ilkay Gundogan was not so reserved. The man who seized control of the night said the 3-1 win over Barca was the result he and Guardiola's City would always be judged by.

It should be said that Barca have a fairly indifferent record in England. Beating Barcelona in September 1997 - a team that included Guardiola - did not transform the Newcastle of Kenny Dalglish. When he was asked whether City were one of the favourites to win the tournament, Guardiola gave a little smile and said it might take a decade before they could be put in that kind of bracket.

"We were so pleased and happy when we beat Barca but it was just a game," said Guardiola. "But, given the history, we cannot be favourites. Look at the Spanish teams, they have played more games over many more years.

"Hopefully, it will be shorter than 10 years but Manchester City spent 40 years not playing in Europe and you need time to get back to that level - and we are talking about Barcelona, Real, Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich.

"I want to qualify from the groups and then concentrate on the Premier League and on teams like Liverpool and Chelsea. The Champions League has meant we have played eight games more."

It was not the first time he mentioned those two clubs during his press conference. Their freedom from European football is something Guardiola returned to.

Liverpool and Chelsea appear to be the two clubs he fears most.

  • Bor M'gladbach v Man City, Champions League Group C: Borussia-Park, Tonight, 7.45pm

Belfast Telegraph

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