Belfast Telegraph

Kompany happy to be back on big stage as Manchester City turn on power

Crystal Palace 0 - Manchester City 3

By Robert Jones

Vincent Kompany described himself as "by far the happiest footballer on earth" after he completed 90 minutes in Manchester City's 3-0 FA Cup victory at Crystal Palace.

City progressed to the fifth round with a convincing performance, but Kompany's first appearance since suffering his most recent injury felt equally significant.

The captain and central defender's absence with a knee injury has appeared particularly significant amid City's erratic defending and the inconsistency of their goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. His return could yet give manager Pep Guardiola the balance he has been striving for, even if he accepts he is not yet fully fit.

"I'm by far the happiest footballer on earth," Kompany (30) said. "I've been working hard for this, waiting, waiting, waiting to get back into the team.

"Ninety minutes to play for this club that means much to me. Everything was there for me to perform well: a good hail storm, a few good challenges. I was happy with the performance."

City's £27m January signing Gabriel Jesus was given his full debut in the absence of Sergio Aguero, and Kompany said of the 19-year-old Brazilian: "I'm extremely impressed.

"He got a good whack at the end and I just told him 'just get up and get on with it'. He's got so much ability, power and pace, and he's a level-headed lad, so he's got everything to be a top star in the Premier League."

Relegation-threatened Palace, finalists last season, have only the Premier League to concentrate on after their elimination.

They were consistently outclassed, but defender Joel Ward felt they deserved better.

"In the end we started trying to push on and got exposed and when you play against players of that calibre they're going to hurt you," he said.

"We got carried away pushing forward and left ourselves a bit exposed."



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