‘City needed freshening up’

MANCHESTER. — Manuel Pellegrini has warned his club captain Vincent Kompany that he is not assured of regaining his place in Manchester City’s starting line-up after he was left out of his side’s 2-0 victory over Leicester at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night. The Belgian World Cup central defender was the most high-profile victim of sweeping changes made by Pellegrini in the wake of successive and costly defeats to Barcelona and Liverpool.

Kompany’s poor form cost him his place for a victory that City laboured to record, through goals late in each half from David Silva and James Milner, and Pellegrini insisted that the defender is not assured of returning in City’s next game, at Burnley, in 10 days.

“It was the same reason with Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Fernandinho, Samir Nasri, Edin Dzeko – it was important today to refresh the team, mentally and physically, after two difficult games when we didn’t have the results we wanted,” said Pellegrini.

“It was a good moment to do that.

“It was not a difficult decision because we needed to refresh the team and I decided, thinking about a lot of things. We will see what happens in the next game. We have the weekend free but on Monday we will start thinking about the next game.

“Always when you don’t have the result you need, the next game is very difficult and that is why today the most important thing was to win the three points. After that we played a normal game, we dominated, had good possession of the ball and it was important for the team to keep a clean sheet and try to dominate the game from the beginning.”

Pellegrini also backed new £25 million striker Wilfried Bony who marked his first start for the club by missing a number of gilt-edged chances to score his first goal for his new employers.

“It was important for him to start a game from the beginning,” said Pellegrini of the forward who spent the first part of the year on duty for the Ivory Coast at the African Cup of Nations. “He was only having a few minutes in the last games.

“He just arrived here from the Africa Cup, where he played a lot of games and Yaya (Toure) felt the pace of the game also. It would have been better for him to score but it was important for him to start a game, important for him to have some chances and I think he worked the whole game very well.” — AFP.