Pep Guardiola hailed Vincent Kompany as a “real defender” after the Manchester City captain scored the opening goal in the 3-0 defeat of Southampton on Saturday evening.
Kompany made just his eighth start of a very stop-start season but he headed City into the lead, his first goal in almost two years. Guardiola was delighted and said that Kompany can be decisive in both penalty areas, as he showed at St. Mary’s.
“I'm not going to discover the quality of the guy,” Guardiola said. “Manuel [Pellegrini] last season missed him a lot last season and we have missed him a lot [this season].”
Southampton vs Manchester City player ratings
Southampton vs Manchester City player ratings
1/22 Fraser Forster – 4 out of 10
The Saints keeper was a victim of City’s tantalising strike force. He made a handful of top saves, but this was outweighed by the three goals.
2/22 Cedric – 7 out of 10
The 25-year-old battled relentlessly with Sane today and he came out on top in the majority of the 50/50 challenges. Top performance.
3/22 Jack Stephens – 6 out of 10
Won a number of aerial balls and made some crucial challenges at the back.
4/22 Maya Yoshida – 7 out of 10
Defended bravely throughout and without it, it could have been a whitewash for City.
5/22 Ryan Bertrand – 5 out of 10
Was dragged out of position on several occasions and failed to keep up with the pace of the City strikers.
6/22 Steven Davis – 6 out of 10
Effective in picking up possession in the middle and spreading the ball wide, which opened up the City defence a number of times.
7/22 Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – 5 out of 10
Was reckless in his challenges, which gave away a number of unnecessary fouls for Southampton.
8/22 James Ward-Prowse – 6 out of 10
His deliveries into the box caused problems for City, but they just failed to find a final product.
9/22 Dusan Tadic – 5 out of 10
He failed to make his desired impact on the game. Missed an opportunity in the early stages to put Southampton ahead.
10/22 Nathan Redmond – 6 out of 10
He pushed up the pitch well, delivered balls into the box but defensively, there is room for improvement.
11/22 Manolo Gabbiadini – 6 out of 10
Failed to make his intended impact on the game due to lack of service, but his movement off the ball was impressive.
12/22 Claudio Bravo – 5 out of 10
Had a very quiet afternoon due to lack of activity within the Manchester City box.
13/22 Jesus Navas – 6 out of 10
Defended well and came close to scoring the goal of the season from 35 yards.
14/22 Vincent Kompany – 9 out of 10
His opening goal ignited a triumphant City victory. In terms of his defensive play, he was faultless.
15/22 Nicolas Otamendi – 6 out of 10
He defended well, tackled hard and made a number of key clearances.
16/22 Gael Clichy – 7 out of 10
He was charging up and down the left flank, putting deliveries into the box and using possession well.
17/22 Fernandinho – 6 out of 10
Spread the ball wide and used the width of the St Mary’s pitch to City’s advantage.
18/22 Yaya Toure – 6 out of 10
Controlled play from the middle of the park, but gave the ball away cheaply at times.
19/22 Kevin De Bruyne – 8 out of 10
His deliveries played a huge role in the success of the side. He bagged himself two assists.
20/22 David Silva – 7 out of 10
Assisted the first goal with his corner kick. Aside from that he was energetic and his movement off the ball added to City’s threat going forward.
21/22 Leroy Sane – 7 out of 10
He oozes confidence on the ball and proves problematic for any defence that he comes across. His goal capped a top display today.
22/22 Sergio Aguero – 8 out of 10
The Argentinian provided the goods once again. He made a nuisance of himself throughout and scored the third goal.
City’s defence has held them back at times this season, with no stable partnership and centre-back, but Guardiola spoke very warmly about what Kompany can bring to the team when he is fit. “He's a guy with the quality to win duels one-against-one,” Guardiola said. “With the ball he has the quality to look and move quicker in small space with the passing. And he help us in defensive and offensive set-pieces because he' s a real defender. Vincent is a guy who smells the ball on the set pieces, so he’s so important. Hopefully he can be fit until the end of the season because he's an important player for us.”
Despite Kompany’s struggles, Guardiola believes his captain can still play a crucial role over the final weeks of the season. “There is no doubt about it,” he said. “The problem is when a guy is injured for two or three years, what can we do? In the past two years he has had a lot of problems. Of course this is only his fourth [league] game of the season and that's not too much. With all the players, Gabriel Jesus for example, and Ilkay Gundogan, we would have been stronger. But we are so happy he has come back, and hopefully we can take care of him and he will be fit until the end of the season.”
City’s win moved them back into third place but Guardiola said that third is the best they can hope for, because Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have the top two places secured.
“Tottenham is so strong,” Guardiola said. “Today we saw again how good they are so they are not going to drop points. Our performances away have been amazing but our problem is at home we've dropped a lot of points. Look at Chelsea and Tottenham and how strong they have been at home all season. But United and us have dropped a lot of points at home and we are in this position. When you want to win the Premier League, then at home against Southampton, Middlesbrough etc, we dropped a lot of points. That penalised us for the rest of the season.”
Claude Puel was not happy with Southampton’s performance. “Disappointment but not just about the result but about our play,” he said “We can do better. We didn’t show today a good Southampton with good quality on the pitch. We were nervous at the beginning of the game.”Reuse content