Toure out, Kompany boost for Manchester City

Manchester, April 25 (IANS) Manchester City will be without injured midfielder Yaya Toure but the English football giants have been boosted by the return of ace defender Vincent Kompany for the European Champions League semi-final first leg against Real Madrid here on Tuesday.

Ivorian veteran Toure has been unable to shake off the muscle injury he suffered in the win over Stoke City on Saturday, City head coach Manuel Pellegrini clarified on Monday.

Toure is the only player registered who will be missing as City prepare for a historic night at the Etihad Stadium. Pellegrini has given his backing to Brazilian duo Fernando and Fernandinho to continue their excellent recent form.

“Yaya is going to be out, I think. He hasn’t recovered from the muscle injury,” he told mcfc.com.

“Tomorrow the two players not on the squad list are (Samir) Nasri, who is not registered, and Yaya who is injured.

“Whenever the Brazilian boys have played together they’ve played some big games — against PSG and against Roma when we knocked them out.”

However, Kompany handed a boost to supporters, declaring himself 100 percent fit. The Belgian also delivered a rousing message to supporters, highlighting their role as potentially decisive at the Etihad on Tuesday night.

“I’m 100 percent fit — everything went well and, as always, unfortunately when you’re injured you have to work a lot harder than the rest and that’s what I did,” he declared.

“We play against one of the greatest clubs of all-time. Our support tomorrow will be able to make the difference. If they turn up, I’ve never seen a City team not perform when the fans turn up.

“Otherwise, what’s the point of buying a ticket? That’s what we need from them.”

Pellegrini also emphasised the importance of keeping 11 men on the field against the ten-time European champions.

Pellegrini asserted that the main lesson learned in this Champions League campaign is to play with “a hot heart and a cold mind” and, although this is the first time City have reached the last four, he doesn’t want to stop there.

“It’s very important to enjoy the semi-final as it’s not an achievement we do every year. The players know that. It’s important not to be comfortable because we’re at this stage. Everyone wants to continue, to play the final. Tomorrow we’ll see a team that will play to win,” he reflected.

“It’s important to reach this final as it reflects the work we are doing for three years. The way you win a title is very important. We won’t just try to defend to reach the final. I have always tried to have a team who play good football, play well. The way we do it is just as important,” the outgoing coach added.

“We need a hot heart and a cold mind — against Barcelona we played with one player less both times. It’s very difficult with ten players. We need our emotions under control tomorrow.”

–IANS

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