16 Feb We’re not giving up
Captain Vincent Kompany has emphasised Manchester City will be battling on for the Barclays Premier League title this season knowing they have pulled off significant comebacks to win it before.
Sunday’s 2-1 home loss to Tottenham left City in fourth place, six points behind leaders Leicester with 12 rounds of fixtures to go.
The Blues claimed the title in 2011-12 and 2013-14 despite having been eight and seven points off the top respectively with six games left to play.
Kompany was part of both of those triumphs, and said after the Tottenham defeat: “Nobody is allowed to give up on anything.
“It’s a setback but we wouldn’t know our personal history well if we didn’t expect to still kick on from here.”
Tottenham opened the scoring at the Etihad Stadium in the 53rd minute via a penalty controversially awarded when referee Mark Clattenburg judged Raheem Sterling to have been guilty of handball.
The hosts bounced back from the spot-kick scored by Harry Kane as substitute Kelechi Iheanacho’s strike made it 1-1 in the 74th minute, but a Christian Eriksen effort seven minutes from time ensured Spurs claimed all three points.
While disappointed by the outcome, Kompany feels there were positives he and his team-mates could take from the contest.
He said: “We’re obviously disappointed with the result but if you look at the game, while Tottenham played well, they’ve not had many chances. I thought we looked pretty solid.
“We need to take some positives out of this performance.”
What directly contributed to the team’s solidity was Kompany’s return to action, the influential centre-half – hampered by calf problems this season – making his first start since early November.
Regarding his fitness, the 29-year-old Belgium international said: “I feel great. I’ve worked extremely hard.
“There’s always that part that people don’t see, the thing you do behind the scenes, and for me it’s been grafting and just making sure I get the most out of the rest of this season and the rest of my years where I can be at the top.
“So physically I feel good – although I’ve got to be honest, the last five minutes I was blowing a little bit.”
Kompany said he was “hopeful” his injury issues are behind him now, before underlining his determination to stay on top of the situation and remain a key figure for the club.
“I definitely won’t let anyone decide for me when I’m going to come back or not – I decide when I come back stronger,” he said.
“I work more than anyone else to make sure that I do that, and people who know me are not worried.
“I want to achieve greatness, like anyone else in this industry, and I want to be allowed to just play all the games, like (against Tottenham) – we didn’t win but I enjoyed it.
“But nothing will break me.”
Meanwhile, Press Association Sport understands City boss Manuel Pellegrini will not face action from the Football Association over his comments about Clattenburg.
Pellegrini told the BBC after the game: ”It was a penalty that Clattenburg wanted to sign for and he gave the sign. It was absolutely the wrong decision.”
It was the second match against Spurs this season in which Clattenburg had frustrated City, after two controversial offside decisions in the 4-1 loss at White Hart Lane in September.
And Pellegrini added in his post-match press conference on Sunday: ”Unfortunately for us it was the same referee as when we lost against Tottenham (before) with two clear goals offside.”
When asked about the appointment of Clattenburg, Pellegrini said: ”For me I don’t think it is a good decision to have the same referee.”
It is understood the FA has looked at Pellegrini’s comments and opted against taking action, having considered them not to be a clear breach of its rules with regard to implying bias on the part of an official, questioning their integrity or making a personal criticism.