Kompany relishes challenge

Vincent Kompany (centre) mopping up in his penalty box in Sunday's 2-0 win at Everton. The Manchester City captain said: "It is so important in any top team to have quality players all over."
Vincent Kompany (centre) mopping up in his penalty box in Sunday's 2-0 win at Everton. The Manchester City captain said: "It is so important in any top team to have quality players all over." PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

Increased pressure to retain places in squad crucial for City's title aspirations this season

LONDON • Vincent Kompany believes Manchester City's extra competition in central defence will prove pivotal throughout the Premier League campaign following the signing of Nicolas Otamendi.

Kompany has played 90 minutes in each of his side's three league games this season. The 2013-14 champions have won every match, scoring eight times and have yet to concede.

They sit top of the table after impressive victories over West Bromwich, Chelsea and Everton, their fine start in contrast to a stuttering previous season during which Kompany struggled for consistent form.

City manager Manuel Pellegrini recently denied that Kompany's place was under threat following the £34 million (S$74 million) arrival of Otamendi from Valencia.

However, the £42 million Eliaquim Mangala - British football's most expensive defender ever - has also started the season well.

Kompany, discussing the arrival of Otamendi, said competition at centre-half would undoubtedly improve individual performances through the season.

Otamendi was recently described by Pellegrini as the best defender in La Liga last season, but the 27-year-old Argentina international is still awaiting his City debut.

"It is so important in any top team to have quality players all over. The extra competition is good, really good," said Kompany, who has scored twice this season.

"You don't play for a top team unless you have that. If you look at the schedule, you could end up with 50-60 games and that is impossible for one team.

"If you want to go for every trophy, we have got (Jason) Denayer, (Martin) Demichelis, Otamendi, Mangala and myself. You need that to go for it.

"You go back to what you mentioned before about competition - that is one of the reasons we have started so strong. You can't really afford to do anything wrong during the week leading up to the game. Then during the game, you can't do anything wrong either as there is always someone looking over your shoulder, waiting, who is just as good as you.

"If they are in a better moment and they deserve a chance, they will take your place. You have got to be at the top of your game."

The City captain's fellow Belgian Kevin De Bruyne is also poised to make the move from Wolfsburg to Manchester City, and if the attacker joins for £50 million it will take Pellegrini's transfer spending in the current window to £152 million.

Kompany, whose side play Watford on Saturday, said of his own good form: "It shows on the pitch that I feel good and I feel happy with myself. I am 29. Things are coming easier. I just don't want to miss any opportunities to have a good game or have a good season. Every game counts for me."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2015, with the headline 'Kompany relishes challenge'. Print Edition | Subscribe