Sunderland vs Manchester City preview: City's title revival hit by defensive problems

Captain Kompany was undergoing scans on his injury today to discover exactly how long he faces on the sidelines

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The Independent Football

Just when Manchester City’s title chase looked to have got back on track, they have been hit by defensive problems for tomorrow night’s trip to resurgent Sunderland with the loss of Vincent Kompany to injury.

City’s influential captain damaged his hamstring in the latter stages of Sunday’s Premier League win at Southampton, and with fellow defender Eliaquim Mangala suspended after his sending off at  St Mary’s, manager Manuel Pellegrini will have to field a new-look centre-back pairing.

Discussing his options, Pellegrini said: “We have [fringe player] Dedryck Boyata, he is working very well, we have also Martin Demichelis, we have [right-back] Bacary Sagna. So we will see which two of them  will play.”

Matija Nastasic, who has been out of favour this season, might have earned a recall, but as the manager said: “Unfortunately for him, he is again injured. He has had two long injuries this season. He has a muscle injury in his thigh. I don’t know if he will be able to work with the squad for one week more so he is not an option.”

Kompany was undergoing scans on his injury today to discover exactly how long he faces on the sidelines.

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet is convinced his team’s mental strength can help them claim another major scalp this evening. It played a huge part in last season’s unlikely march to survival and also in Saturday’s gutsy goalless draw with Premier League leaders Chelsea.

 

Add in the fact that Sunderland have won their previous four home clashes with City 1-0, and it is no surprise the Uruguayan is in bullish mood as his side look to stretch their unbeaten run to five games.

Poyet said: “There is a mentality sometimes that when you play against the top teams, before you start the game you accept that if you lose, nothing will happen.

“I don’t think that’s right – I don’t think you are playing to the maximum if you accept that before the game. I think you have to be clear that it is going to be more difficult, but you will have a chance.

“On those terms the players have been exceptional because we stayed up last year because of that, and we showed last Saturday we can do it and we can try to stop the other teams doing what they like.”

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