Pre Match Video
Vincent Kompany is ready to return to bolster Manchester City’s title challenge.
The influential City captain has been sorely missed throughout his prolonged periods on the sidelines with recurring calf injuries this season.
The 29-year-old has played just nine minutes in City’s last 20 games in all competitions – an abortive comeback against Sunderland on Boxing Day.
He has now been declared fit for Sunday’s crunch English Premier League clash against title rivals Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium, a match City can ill afford to lose after slipping to fourth in the table.
Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City manager:
“Well exactly as I said last week – it is not a decisive game (against Tottenham Hotspur), but it is a very important game. Of course after that you have to play (for) another 36 points, but for our team it is very important to try to return as soon as we can to the top of the table and to try to discount points to at least two of the three teams that are in front of us at this moment. So for our team it is very, very important.”
(are you confident you are able to close that gap at the top of the table to leaders Leicester?)
“Yes of course. We are always thinking that we can do it. After that, you must demonstrate during the game why you can do it. Maybe it was the unexpected defeat against Leicester, knowing that we played against a very good team. The last 11 games we just lost one against Everton, but it was the first leg of the Capital One (League Cup). So we were in a good moment, but we played a bad team.”
“I think that not only Tottenham – I think there are five or six teams that can continue fighting for the title. They are all very good. They (Tottenham) are a very good team, good players, good manager. And they are involved – this is game number 25 – they are involved in the fight for the title. So probably the last 13 games, they will do it also.”
(Will you risk captain Vincent Kompany in the game against Tottenham – even if he is not 100 per cent?)
“No, I think that every player that will play the game must be 100 per cent to play. I think that Vincent has been working the last three weeks without any problems. He played 45 minutes in a friendly with the under-21s, so I think that he is ready now to play.”
Mauricio Pochettino insists Tottenham’s crunch clash at Manchester City on Sunday will be important to the English Premier League title race but not decisive.
Spurs head to Manchester knowing victory would pull them four points clear of Manuel Pellegrini’s side in the race at the top of the table.
Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham Hotspur manager
(How important is Sunday’s match?) “For me, every game is very important because to arrive at the end in the position that we are or improve our position you need to win games. But it’s not decisive. It’s important, very important but it’s not the last game that you need to achieve or not after 90 minutes. It is not the last game. But I think it is a very important game. And we know, they know, we are in a position where there are 13 games ahead, but after the next game it is 12 and we are going into the more important period in the league.”
“But one thing is sure, that we are confident. We go to Manchester to try to win the game. First play well and perform as well and try for the self to win, to take the three points. This is our opportunity, But we cannot guess what will happen Sunday.”
(How important was the 4-1 win at Manchester City at the end of September, especially considering that Tottenham had made a slow start to the season?)
“Yes, was a very important game for us. Was a very important victory and I think that gave to us more belief and trust in ourselves and our quality. I think it was one of the important games from the beginning of the season.”
“We need to believe. We need only believe. And after, we see what happens.”
Tottenham subs: Vorm, Mason, Lamela, Trippier, Chadli, Carroll, Davies.
Tottenham (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Rose; Dier, Dembele; Son, Alli, Eriksen; Kane.
Manchester City subs: Caballero, Kolarov, Demichelis, Celina, Iheanacho, Aleix Garcia, Manuel Garcia.
Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Otamendi, Clichy; Fernando, Fernandinho; Silva, Toure, Sterling; Aguero.