Manchester City ready to compete for title, says Vincent Kompany

Should Manchester City's great, expensively produced adventure end with a European Cup or the Premier League trophy, the odds are that Vincent Kompany will be the man to lift it.

Manchester City ready to compete for title, says Vincent Kompany Despite all the attention focused on what Samir Nasri referred to this week as the new galácticos, it is fitting that the man who will probably be charged with leading City is a defender, however elegant.

During the club's golden years, when Maine Road played host to Malcolm Allison's cigars and the quicksilver brilliance of Colin Bell, the team were led by Tony Book, a one-time apprentice bricklayer who began his career with Frome Town.

It is unlikely that once he returns to fitness the captaincy will return from Kompany to Carlos Tevez. Frankly, there have been too many betrayals for that. Kompany has not complained about the city or its lack of restaurants and, having grown up in one of the plusher suburbs of Brussels, he has never hankered for the Mediterranean. The Belgian predates, if only by nine days, the Abu Dhabi revolution. He has married a local girl and, if there may be too much red in Carla Kompany's family for his liking, it is slowly turning blue. "I like Mancunians, I feel good here. It feels like home."

Kompany, who will lead the team at Spurs today, was not aware of Nasri's galácticos reference. "It sounds a bit pretentious, but it is the best thing we have been called in a long time," he says. "But there is not much point in talking about what we are going to do; we have done some things, but we have massive ambitions.

"I have learned that those who stay the calmest get the most reward. I started under Mark Hughes and, even though I'd had a good season, Joleon Lescott and Kolo Touré then came in. It was a case of: 'What are you going to do? Cry about it or become better?' And, if they are better than you, then you must learn from them."

Kompany not only learnt from those around him; by last season he was being talked about by judges such as Martin Keown as the best defender the Premier League had to offer.

He has developed the kind of measured, powerful understatement that comes with authority. Asked if Manchester City have the squad to cope with the twin demands of a tilt for a first championship since Book lifted the trophy in 1968 and a Champions League group that includes Bayern Munich, Villarreal and Napoli, he says: "I was training the other day and in my team the strikers were Agüero, Balotelli and Nasri. On the other side there was Dzeko, Tevez, Silva and Yaya Touré. I hope it answers your question.

"Can we win the league? What I would say is this. As soon as Robinho was signed, people were talking about us winning the title and I knew it was not going to happen. But we finished 10th and the challenge the season afterwards was to do better. Where we are now is we have finished equal second on the same number of points as Chelsea. If you want to do better than this, you have to be competing for the title. But there are four or five good teams and there is no guarantee at all."

It is the other club in Manchester who have perfected the concept of a siege mentality but it exists at City, mainly because Roberto Mancini's squad are weary of the constant references to how much they earn and what the whole oil-funded projects costs. "We have been battered for the past three years and that has helped me love this club more because we have been in a corner most of the time," he says. "It is always the money. What else can it be? I look at it from the inside and what this club does for the community is unbelievable. What it does for its fans is incredible.

"I read somewhere that I wasn't happy with what some of the other players were being paid. That could not be further from the truth. If someone comes to Manchester City on the Queen's wages, I don't care. I have been brought up with the feeling that if someone does well for himself then I am happy. I have never suffered from jealousy."

And, echoing a sentiment Book would recognise, he adds: "When I was growing up, I was not crying in my room every day because other boys had more than me."

Powered by article was written by Tim Rich, for The Observer on Saturday 27th August 2011 23.24 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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