City v Sunderland Manuel Pellegrini Premier League press conference - Manchester City FC

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Season 2015/16

Kompany and Zabaleta back for Boxing Day

  • 23 December 2015 13:15
  • Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
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Manuel Pellegrini delivered some timely, festive good news ahead of City’s Boxing Day showdown with Sunderland.

Following an eight game, six week lay-off, Vincent Kompany is fit to return to the squad for the visit of Sam Allardyce’s Black Cats and Pablo Zabaleta will also return to the squad list.

The skipper, who has been out with a calf strain since the goalless draw at Villa Park, has returned to full training but his manager would not confirm if his Belgian centre back or Argentine full-back are ready to start the match.

Pellegrini revealed: “The injury situation is better – we’ll have the complete squad recovered apart from Samir Nasri.

“Pablo Zabaleta, Fernando and Vincent Kompany have all worked with the squad normally.

“You are always missing good players – he’s the captain here and if he doesn’t play it’s an important player we don’t have in our squad.

“One of the most important things of this team is to be in the all competitions, not just depending on one player.

“We’ll see the starting XI on Saturday – after that, especially with David, with Kun, with Vincent, with Pablo - we have to see how they recover between games. I have not decided my team yet.”

City’s defeat to Arsenal left the Chilean’s side six points off the top of the Premier League table.

However, the 62-year old revealed that he is not panicking about the current situation and is more concerned with making sure that his team are in touch with the table summit at the end of January.

He said: “We are in this moment in third, four points against Arsenal and six points against Leicester. We must play against Leicester on the 29th so it’s very important to win these two games to finish the first round.

“The important thing is to be involved at the end of January, then try and win the title in the remainder of the season.

“We have to try to focus game by game – the next is Sunderland, we try to beat them at home which is never an easy game,. Then we think about Leicester. We lost important points against Arsenal – a game of six points – but it was not a decisive game as I said before the match.

“You never win the title in December.”

Manuel was also quizzed on the performance of Yaya Toure in the defeat to Arsenal.

The midfielder was criticised by Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher following the game in North London on Monday night.

He also confirmed that Sergio Aguero was 100% fit to start that game.

Pellegrini explained: “When you lose a game, the losers are always doing bad things. The first shot Arsenal had on our goal was on 33 minutes and they scored. We dominated the game – maybe we were not aggressive but we had a couple of great chances and Yaya was involved in all of that.

“I never criticise individual performances.

“Sergio was ready to play – he needed minutes. Maybe for three or four games he won’t play 90 minutes as he’s coming back from injury but he needs to play.”

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