Demichelis: Barcelona howler changed my season

Martin Demichelis had a tough start at the Etihad but is now Man City's first-choice partner for Vincent Kompany and fighting to be on the plane to Brazil

Much-maligned Argentinian defender Martin Demechelis has spoken about his difficult first season at Manchester City and how his transformation since his Barcelona howler and subsequent inclusion in provisional 30-man Argentina World Cup squad stands him in good stead for next season.

“That’s the story of my life going through difficult moments but now I’m doubly proud because I had a very difficult first four months because of injury, now though is a great feeling to show to everyone that I can be an important player.”

Labelled as paceless and hesitant by leading BBC and Sky pundits when he first arrived at the Etihad from Atletico Madrid in September, Demichelis was sent off and conceded a penalty at the Etihad in the club's Champions League quarter final 0-2 defeat to Barcelona. It represented the lowest point of a difficult spell the club but also a turning point in his Manchester City career.

In the 20 games before the Barcelona debacle the long-haired defender was part of a defence which conceded 25 goals at a rate of 1.3 per game. Under pressure from fans and analysts during the season’s finale though he has developed into a capable foil for club captain Vincent Kompany helping to lower that figure to 0.8 goals per game with 7 clean sheets in the remaining 15 matches.

“This season has been difficult but now I have belief and confidence for good things to come. Now I prepare for another successful campaign,” Demichelis said.

With Joleon Lescott confirmed as a summer departure and interest in Micah Richards high, there will be less competition in the squad for the centre-back berth. If transfer rumours are to be believed though, both French centre-back Eliaquim Mangala and uncompromising Roma defender Mahdi Benatia are among a number of world-class defenders on the Citizens’s shopping list.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini has managed Demichelis at three different clubs though; River Plate, Malaga and Man City, and is unlikely to lose faith in him overnight.


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