Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has lost his battle to be fit for his side’s decisive Champions League quarter-final clash against Paris Saint-Germain.
The influential Belgium defender had been hoping to feature in tonight’s second leg at the Etihad Stadium after a month on the sidelines with the latest in a long line of calf-related problems.
But despite the 30-year-old being involved in training, Kompany’s involvement has been deemed too much of a risk by manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Pellegrini said: “Vincent Kompany is not 100%.”
Asked if he could still play, Pellegrini said: “No, it is not possible.”
Pellegrini had previously suggested Kompany could be fit, so the news will come as a blow for a tie in which the score is locked at 2-2 after a thrilling first leg last week.
City will have Nicolas Otamendi in the centre of defence despite a minor scare over a twisted ankle in the weekend win over West Brom.
Pellegrini said: “I am absolutely confident because with this defence we played a lot of games here in the Premier League and in the Champions League and if we are in this stage it is because we have good defenders.
“We have had a lot of injuries (this season) but I trust 100% in the players who can play.”
Playmaker David Silva will return after resting an ankle injury and the blow to the foot Sergio Aguero took in the latter stages on Saturday has not proved serious.
Pellegrini recognises both sides have everything to play for after an even first encounter at the Parc des Princes. “When we started this stage against Paris Saint-Germain I said I didn’t think one team could be favourites. I continue thinking exactly the same.
“We have to play a tough game against a very good team. We knew that before we played in Paris and we went there to try to win from the beginning.”
Pellegrini said that tonight, “we are going to do exactly the same thing because it is the way this team play”.
To progress, City will need to keep PSG’s prolific striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic quiet. The Swede scored in the first leg despite a below-par performance in which he missed a penalty.
Ibrahimovic is out of contract in the summer and has long been linked with a move to England, with the latest stories identifying him as a potential Manchester United target.
City defender Bacary Sagna said: “Zlatan has been doing well in every single league he has played in. He has played in Holland, Italy, and now in France and has always been a massive player and done well. If he ever comes to the Premier League, I wouldn’t be surprised, and I think he can do well here.”
PSG coach Laurent Blanc has warned City that Ibrahimovic is determined to shoot them down at the Etihad Stadium.
The 34-year-old has had a fine season, netting 30 goals in Ligue 1 for the runaway champions. Blanc expects him to be at his sharpest at the Etihad Stadium.
He said: “We’re always a bit surprised when Zlatan misses a chance but when you’re a top goalscorer like him, you can miss a couple.
“Unfortunately for us he missed them in that game. He still scored though and he’s someone who is extremely demanding of himself.
“He wants to show something else tomorrow, he wants to be more clinical in front of goal. If we create as many chances as the first leg, I think his conversion rate will be a lot higher.”
Also hoping to make an impression will be Angel di Maria on his first return to Manchester since his unhappy spell at United last season. Blanc said: “I don’t think Angel has anything to prove. He’s going to be under pressure, like we all will. He joined us to bring his experience in the competition — he has won the Champions League.”
* Ireland legend Richard Dunne will make his television punditry debut tonight on TV3 for the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final between Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.
The panel will reunite the now retired Dunne with his former Ireland manager Brian Kerr and former international team mate Kevin Kilbane, and will also see the centre-half running the rule over City, the club with which he played from 2000 to 2009.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved