Vincent Kompany might miss most of Manchester City’s remaining season after picking up another calf injury as the Citizens are through to the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time. City’s passage into Friday’s last eight draw was secured by Tuesday evening’s goalless stalemate with Dynamo Kyiv having stepped into the last-16 second leg clash at the Etihad Stadium with a 3-1 advantage from the first leg.
Yet disaster was waiting for Kompany after just seven minutes. The 29-year-old Belgian’s injury happens to be his fourth calf problem of this term and 14th in total since joining Manchester City in the 2008 summer. His previous injury setbacks have already forced him to be sidelined for a total of 18 weeks this season and he has played only 19 of the City’s 46 matches.
Pellegrini said after the match: “Vincent again has a muscle injury in his calf, same as he had before. We will know tomorrow [Wednesday] or the day after tomorrow how serious it is. But always with muscle injuries it is minimum a month.”
When he was pressed if the skipper might find it difficult to return this season, Pellegrini replied: “It is difficult for me at this moment to say if he is out for the season but having a problem in his calf, we are in the middle of March, then it is middle of April so it is at least three quarters of the rest of the season.”
Kompany also looked distressed as he was forced to leave the field. “I think he must be very strong mentally because it is very difficult to accept but there is nothing else to do,” said the Chilean manager. “We must see tomorrow with the scans.”
However, Pellegrini shrugged off suggestions that he could have rested Kompany for this game as the tie appeared comfortable with the first leg advantage. “You always take a risk, working during the week in training is also a risk but you recover without any problem,” further said the Chilean boss. “You say it was his sixth game in 20 days but he has not had a problem before the game so I don’t think it is anything apart from bad luck.”
Kompany’s fellow defender Nicolás Otamendi was had to be substituted, just after 25 minutes, but Pellegrini is hopeful that the Argentine will be fit enough to play Sunday’s Manchester derby as City await their fate in Friday’s Champions League quarter final draw.
“I think when you’re at this stage all the teams are very difficult,” said Pellegrini. “But I keep having in my mind that there is a team that is better than all the other teams – that is Barcelona. I think all the other teams are similar. We will see the next game. In this knockout round, you should know how to play tactical games and we will see how far we can go.” His comments made it quite clear, Manchester City don’t want to face Barcelona.