Pep Guardiola: Vincent Kompany is key for Manchester City
City captain completed 90 minutes for only second time in two months
Pep Guardiola has stressed Vincent Kompany’s importance to Manchester City after welcoming his skipper back into the first-team fold.
Kompany returned for City’s 2-0 FA Cup win at Cardiff on Sunday – the first time the Belgian defender has featured since limping off at Newcastle on December 27 with a muscular injury.
He completed 90 minutes for only the second time in two months, and Guardiola was delighted that Kompany had got through his latest comeback.
“He did 90 minutes and it is a long time that he played in this kind of game,” said Guardiola, who could add to his defensive options by signing Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte before the transfer deadline on Wednesday night.
“It was a lot of long balls, a lot with the physicality.
“Vincent is so important and he did a good performance.”
Manchester City were left counting the cost of a bruising fourth-round tie when Leroy Sane was the victim of a late Joe Bennett tackle right on half-time.
Sane did not reappear for the second half and the German international is expected to have a scan on Monday to determine the extent of the injury.
But first-half goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling kept City on the trophy trail in four competitions.
De Bruyne claimed a candidate for cheekiest goal of the season when he rolled his free-kick under the Cardiff wall, which had jumped en bloc.
“We showed them,” Guardiola said, revealing Cardiff’s practice of jumping in the wall had been noted when City scouted them in their third-round cup replay victory at Mansfield.
“My assistant coach saw the wall jump and after that he decided.
“You always give the information, but I’m sorry – the talent is the talent and the credit goes to Kevin.
“But we did a good performance, we saw them play man to man and we wanted one more man in the middle to play an extra pass.
5th round, here we come! 🦈🏆 pic.twitter.com/7nbj1WtyF8— Kevin De Bruyne (@DeBruyneKev) January 28, 2018
“If you go to the right they follow to the right, if you go to the left they follow to the left, if you go the locker room they follow you to the locker room!
“So we went to look for one player in the middle and we found that extra pass quite well.”
Sky Bet Championship side Cardiff have been heavily criticised for their uncompromising approach, although Bluebirds manager Neil Warnock insisted Manchester City also “dished it out a bit”.
Bennett was fortunate only to receive a yellow card for his challenge on Sane, although he was sent off in the final seconds after felling substitute Brahim Diaz.
1. Just want to apologise to Leroy Sané for my tackle today. I tried to stop the counter attack and completely mistimed my attempt.— Joe Bennett (@JoeBennett27) January 28, 2018
2. I didn't mean to catch him like I did. I hope it's nothing serious and he recovers quickly.— Joe Bennett (@JoeBennett27) January 28, 2018
The defender expressed regret on his Twitter account later, saying: “Just want to apologise to Leroy Sane for my tackle today.
“I tried to stop the counter attack and completely mistimed my attempt.
“I didn’t mean to catch him like I did. I hope it’s nothing serious and he recovers quickly.”