Vincent Kompany happy to get Manchester City's toughest game out of the way first

City captain absolves himself and keeper Hart of blame for 'outstanding' Ronaldo's last-minute winner for Real Madrid

Madrid

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany called for calm after seeing what would have been an invaluable point sail over his head and past Joe Hart at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday night, reminding the doomsayers that at least they will only have to face Cristiano Ronaldo once more in the group stage.

"He made the difference. Without Ronaldo it would have been a different game," said Kompany after the Portuguese forward's goal a minute from time left City third in Champions League group D.

He was closest to the Ronaldo shot that gave Real Madrid three points and said: "Joe [Hart] initially thought I might have been able to get it. But there was no chance. It was on the side of me and it just floated. He was too quick and by the time you get in position the ball is already gone.

"I think he's one of the only players that can do that. He's got that technique and there is nothing much you can do once he has the chance to take that shot, all you can do is try to close down the space before he hits it."

Roberto Mancini complained about his City players sitting back and allowing Real Madrid to attack them. But the defender said it was Ronaldo's magic that frightened defences into retreat. "When he's on the ball you have to back off. He's capable of going past someone. I guess it's why Barcelona and Real Madrid are regarded as the two best teams in the world because [with Lionel Messi] they have those two outstanding players.

"The goal wasn't Joe's fault. It floated past everyone. It's one of those things. There are not many players in the world who can do that but unfortunately for us he is one of them."

The defeat gives Manchester City a worse start than last season when they drew with Napoli in their opening game but there is a feeling that the most difficult job is now out of the way.

Kompany said: "Real Madrid will probably take the points off Ajax and Dortmund at home too. What happened was regrettable but there's no drama. This is just the first game.

"It could have been a bonus point but we were playing against one of the strongest teams in the world, at their home. We'll improve this season and this was a great way to measure ourselves, to find out where we are as a club."

The sentiments were echoed by Gareth Barry who said after making it so hard for Madrid for so long they would now not be relishing the prospect of their trip to Manchester.

Barry said: "We matched them and could have come away with the three points. I'm sure it'll be a great game when they come to the Etihad Stadium but before then we have to get some points on the board.

"The positives are there – we twice took the lead; we've scored two goals in the Bernabeu and frustrated them for long periods of the game. There are so many positives we can take while at the same time seeing the big picture and recognising that we've lost the first game. We're going to need some big performances, but we believe we can produce them."

There was also encouragement to be taken from the respect Jose Mourinho had shown the opposition by selecting Michael Essien in a strong three-man midfield that left no space for flair players Luka Modric and Mesut Ozil. "There were a couple of surprises [in the selection]," admitted Barry. "They packed their midfield out with more defensive players."

City now face Arsenal at the weekend with Samir Nasri likely to miss out against his old club after picking up a hamstring injury in the first half against Real Madrid. "It's important we bounce back" added Barry. "We are undefeated [in the league] and this is a massive game for us."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific