Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini says he has spoken to his captain Vincent Kompany about his recent shaky form, and has backed the Belgian to return to his best, reports Eurosport.
The Belgian has come in for some criticism for his recent performances, and was partly at fault for Luis Suarez’ first goal in the 2-1 defeat to Barcelona on Tuesday.
Suarez gave the 28-year-old a torrid time for the majority of the evening, with his two goals ensuring City have a mountain to climb when they head to the Nou Camp in the hope of reaching the Champions League quarter finals.
City currently trail Chelsea by five points at the top of the Premier League, and Pellegrini knows he will need his captain to rediscover his best form quickly if they are to close the gap on Jose Mourinho’s side.
But the Chilean has backed Kompany to return to his old self sooner rather than later.
Pellegrini said: “Vincent is an experienced player with a strong character. He must receive the criticism that everyone receives when our team doesn’t have the performance that everyone hopes for.
“I think it’s not a problem for him, I am sure that he will have a strong reaction.”
Asked if his captain could still be regarded as one of Europe’s best defenders, Pellegrini said: “I think he is a great player.
“I don’t defend the performance of the team – not just Kompany.
“We played moments of the game, the first 25 minutes and all the second half, without any problem.
“But I think the parts of the game that decided the score were because of poor performance from me and from the team – everyone, not just individuals or the skills of just one player.
“I always talk with the players about their level in private. I don’t analyse what they do to the media.”