Return of captain Vincent Kompany could give Manchester City a lift
Manchester City will be lifted by the return of inspirational captain Vincent Kompany as they bid to reassert their authority this weekend.
The Barclays Premier League leaders surrendered their 100 per cent record, and conceded for the first time domestically, as they slipped to a surprise loss to West Ham last weekend.
Central defender Kompany missed the game having been forced off with a calf injury during the Champions League loss to Juventus four days previously.
The Belgian is now set to return in place of Eliaquim Mangala - alongside whom he had helped keep five successive clean sheets - at Tottenham on Saturday as the Frenchman misses out with a groin problem.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini said: "It is important for the team that Vincent has just recovered from his injury. He is the captain and he started the season very well, not only as a defender, but he scored three important goals also."
Kompany's return, along with that of Samir Nasri after a minor problem, was the welcome fitness news to emerge from Pellegrini's pre-match press conference.
But on the downside, playmaker David Silva remains sidelined with a calf injury and strikers Wilfried Bony and Kelechi Iheanacho have also been ruled out with knocks. Mangala could be out until after next month's international break, joining the likes of Gael Clichy and Fabian Delph on the longer-term casualty list.
Pablo Zabaleta is at least near to a return and Pellegrini is hopeful Silva could feature in Tuesday's Champions League game at Borussia Monchengladbach.
Pellegrini said of the injury list: "It doesn't seem very long - it is very long! We have had a lot of injured players with different injuries. There is not just one reason for it.
"That is why I say it is important to have a squad because you are going to win or lose the title by just one or two points. Normally the difference is not more."
City bounced back from the back-to-back losses against Juventus and West Ham by beating struggling Sunderland comfortably 4-1 in the Capital One Cup in midweek.
Pellegrini fielded a strong side for the third-round tie but Pellegrini said he did not have much flexibility to rest players because of injuries.
He said: "We had 11 players injured so we played the 11 players that can play. We didn't have more players.
"But it was important to continue in the Capital One Cup after two defeats in a row for the trust of the team."
Sergio Aguero opened City's scoring with a penalty but he missed another good chance and could still have been feeling the effects of a recent knee injury.
But Pellegrini said: "I think for tomorrow he is 100 per cent fit. Maybe after his injury he was not all right, especially after West Ham, but he is now okay."
City have won eight of their last nine league games against Spurs but Pellegrini is paying no attention to that statistic.
He said: "Every game is different. Tottenham are a very strong squad, especially at home, and they have very good players."
Pellegrini would not comment on reports linking City with a move for Brisbane Roar midfielder Luke Brattan.