Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini will not press captain Vincent Kompany into a hasty return for this weekend’s FA Cup clash with Norwich City.
The Belgian centre-back has already missed 16 matches this season and has suffered another calf injury – Pellegrini confirming he will sit out the encounter alongside fellow centre-back Eliaquim Mangala, striker Wilfried Bony and long-term absentee Samir Nasri.
“Vincent is progressing, it’s a muscle injury and we must not rush him,” said Pellegrini.
“Mangala and Bony are both still injured. We will know more tomorrow.”
As well as naming the walking wounded, the former Real Madrid manager confirmed that Argentine goalkeeper Willy Caballero will retain his place in the starting eleven ahead of England’s Joe Hart.
“Willy will play both Cups,” the 62-year-old said. “For Joe it’s good to work one complete week because we are playing so many games.
“I think one of most important merits of this squad is to continue being in all the competitions with so many injuries.”
City succumbed to a spirited Everton side away at Goodison Park on Wednesday night in the first leg of their Capital One cup semi-final 2-1.
However they are still fighting on four fronts given their successful progression into the last 16 of the Champions League and their uplifting late league win over Watford last weekend.
Bemoaning his poor luck with regards to injuries of late, Pellegrini offered a glimpse of optimism.
“I hope in future we have the normal amount of players. For the moment we continue with the same squad. I trust in the players – in the first four months we could do it so we can again.”
City have won nine of their last 13 matches against Norwich in all competitions since the turn of the century, racking up 23 goals in their last seven games alone against the Canaries, and will be looking to progress into the fourth round due to take place at the end of January.
“The priority for my team is to try and win every game,” said Pellegrini. “It doesn’t matter which competition you are in. I repeat: we are going to be focused game by game. That gives you an ambitious mind and a winning mind.”
Primed for a place in the side come the weekend, former Málaga shot-stopper Willy Caballero warned that Norwich will pose a stern test if City’s character.
“They are a good team who fight in every match and we’ve studied them closely and seen all their matches this season.
“They’re not easy to beat and we only won our game at the Etihad in the final minute so we know we’ll need to play really well to get a result.”
With the Norwich match looming, City playmaker David Silva celebrated his 30th birthday today and will be looking to add to the 41 goals and 86 assists in 242 matches for the club to date.
Speaking on the 2010 summer signing from Valencia CF, Pellegrini – who managed Villarreal in La Liga while the Gran Canaria-born Silva was with Valencia – said: “I think David demonstrates in every game how important he is.
“He is a different player, so technical, it’s a gift to see him play, I hope he continues.”
Image courtesy of MCFC via YouTube, with thanks.