Kompany Explains Why Liverpool’s Van Dijk Is Best-Ever Premier League Defender

Van-Dijk
File: Liverpool’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk celebrates after scoring his team’s fourth goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg football match between FC Porto and Liverpool at the Dragao Stadium in Porto on April 17, 2019. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Ex-Manchester City star, Vincent Kompany believes Liverpool defender, Virgil Van Dijk made the Merseyside less “vulnerable” and thus the greatest defender in Premier League history.

Van Dijk teamed up with Jurgen Klopp’s side in January 2018 from Southampton and has been a mainstay in the heart of Liverpool’s defence which saw them reaching the final of the Champions League the same year.

His contributions to the team in the following season was instrumental as the Premier League side claimed the Champions League crown and they are also on the verge of winning the domestic title this term.

READ ALSO: Pochettino Wants To Manage Another Premier League Team

Although Kompany, now a coach with Anderlecht, has played against defenders like Rio Ferdinand and John Terry in his time at the Etihad Stadium, the Belgian rates the Dutchman above them.

Van Dijk has been able to combine “old-school defending with a modern twist” and helped Liverpool push for honours on both domestic and European fronts, Kompany argued.

He explained that he has never seen Klopp’s side show the kind of “supremacy” they are exhibiting this year.

“It’s very difficult to have a player that has such a big impact at a big club,” the Belgian told BBC Football Focus. “He has brought back old-school defending with a modern twist – and I respect that.”

Kompany Confident City Will Avoid Past Mistakes, Retain Title

Manchester City’s Belgian defender Vincent Kompany (R) tackles Huddersfield Town’s Belgian striker Laurent Depoitre (L) during an English Premier League football match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north-west England, on August 19, 2018. Lindsey PARNABY / AFP

 

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany believes the champions are well placed to avoid past mistakes and become the first team in a decade to retain the Premier League title.

The Belgian, who is the only current City player to have been with the club through the decade that they have been under Abu Dhabi’s free-spending ownership, has won the league three times at City.

But on the previous two occasions, City have failed to mount a serious title challenge in the following year, leaving Manchester United, in 2009, as the last champions to defend their title successfully.

Now, however, Kompany insists that under Pep Guardiola’s management, City will not make the same errors as in years gone by.

“I can only say it’s different from previous years we have won the league,” he said.

“There’s been so many warnings we have had and every single time we almost have to fight against ourselves and our nature, not to fall in the same trap as the other teams have done, my teams included, a few years ago.”

Kompany returned to the City team for Sunday’s 6-1 thrashing of Huddersfield as Guardiola left Nicolas Otamendi, Kyle Walker, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez on the bench.

And Kompany believes that competition for places means City won’t let up after a record-breaking 100-point campaign last season.

“I can see that everyone is training hard. There’s so much competition in the team that we have to anyway,” he added.

“I’m not saying we are going to do as well as we did last year, but if it happens that the season is going to be different then it has to be because of the other teams being stronger, not us being weaker.”

Kompany, who joined City in a bargain £6 million move from Hamburg in the summer of 2008, saw his new club taken over within a month of his arrival by billionaire owner Sheikh Mansour.

“It’s been a special journey because the club has evolved in so many ways,” said Kompany.

“The fans and the people who support this club are the same, but everything else has evolved and there have almost been three different stages.

“The first one where the new owners came in and the leadership of Mark Hughes and then the transition to (Roberto) Mancini, (Manuel) Pellegrini and Pep Guardiola.

“I feel like every single manager has brought a new stage, added something new to the club. There’s so much to say right now in a few words. But I’m extremely proud to have been a part of it.”

AFP

City Taken A Leaf Out Of United’s Book, Says Kompany

Manchester City’s Belgian defender Vincent Kompany (L) heds the ball away from Southampton’s English midfielder Nathan. Photo: Lindsey PARNABY / AFP

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany says the Premier League frontrunners have taken a leaf out of their arch rival’s book and will never stop believing they can win games even in the dying seconds.

City have maintained an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League with last-gasp 2-1 victories over Huddersfield and Southampton in their past two games, both late winners scored by Raheem Sterling.

The Southampton goal came six minutes into stoppage time and sparked jubilant scenes at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

Digging out maximum points in such circumstances was a hallmark of many of Manchester United’s title successes under Alex Ferguson and City captain Kompany recognises it is a good trait to acquire.

“It’s too early in the season to talk about titles but it is just good to know that you can have that feeling that at any time of the game you can make something happen. I felt it could still happen even that late in added time,” said Kompany.

“United used to do it to everybody else, to be honest.

“But it’s a long season. We have done it so far but, if at the end of the season we have done it consistently, I will be happy about it.”

City have won their last 12 league games but the tightness of the past two matches, after some emphatic wins earlier in the run, possibly indicates a change in approach from opponents when facing City.

“From the beginning of the season through to now, the games have changed completely.

“I wouldn’t say it is something to complain about because it just gives you that knowledge that you are going to be on top of the team you are playing but it is something that we have to learn to deal with.

“The sooner we find a way to unlock these teams, the better it will be for our season.”

Despite the exhilaration of Sterling’s late strike against Saints, Kompany hopes City can return to winning games more convincingly.

He said: “I wouldn’t bank on it happening every week, so the sooner we start scoring earlier the better.”

Sterling has now scored 13 goals this term, already the most prolific season of his career.

Kompany said of his team-mate’s improvement: “I think it’s maybe an inner hunger, maybe that desire to be among the best. I can only encourage him to carry on on this path. I’ve seen the work he has put in behind the scenes and that is the way forward.”

AFP

Guardiola Mulls Kompany Return For Man City

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is considering calling on captain Vincent Kompany to solve his centre-back problems at Leicester City on Saturday.

The Belgium international, 31, has not played since picking up a calf injury during his country’s 9-0 win over Gibraltar in August.

Since then, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi have impressed in defence for City, but the Argentinian is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season against Arsenal.

“I have something in my mind to replace him,” Guardiola said on Friday.

“We have Manga (Eliaquim Mangala), maybe Kompany can come back. We will see.

“We have other options, of course. Kyle (Walker) can play in central defence, Fernandinho can play in that position.

“It’s not a natural position for Kyle and Dinho, but we have options.”

Kompany has struggled to keep himself fit for the majority of the last three seasons and it had looked like he was beginning to recover in August.

The defender turned out for City regularly at the end of last season and helped to settle a shaky back-line down.

But he has now missed another two and a half months following a recurrence of a calf problem and in his absence City have kept eight clean sheets and won all 14 games.

Guardiola may have to field a makeshift defence at Leicester, with concerns also surrounding the fitness of auxiliary left-back Fabian Delph, who missed England’s 0-0 friendly draws with Germany and Brazil.

– Sterling ‘much better’ –

“I don’t know if he will be able (to play),” Guardiola told a press conference at the City Football Academy.

“In four training sessions, he trained two and he couldn’t train in the other two.

“Hopefully we can recover him because he’s been so important for us in that position because (Benjamin) Mendy is out for six months.”

City’s last visit to Leicester’s King Power Stadium was a traumatic one for Guardiola, whose side came in for heavy criticism after a 4-2 defeat there last December.

“It was not easy,” he said. “After three minutes we were 2-0 down and Leicester are a complicated team because of the way they play.

“They played the way they did when they were champions with Claudio Ranieri. It’s always complicated with teams like us when we defend high and leave space in the back.

“That’s why we have to play intelligently. It’s one of the toughest games we have.”

Raheem Sterling is available despite having withdrawn from the England squad with a back problem.

“He played the last two games with a lot of pain in his back and he made a huge effort to play in Napoli and against Arsenal,” said Guardiola, whose side are eight points clear at the Premier League summit.

“He’s training. He rested a little bit in this period and the last two games he played he was in trouble, but now it’s much, much better than before.”

Concerns over Sergio Aguero’s fitness have also been eased, with the striker available after he experienced a dizzy spell while on international duty with Argentina.

The forward was taken to hospital as a precaution after being taken ill at half-time of his country’s 4-2 loss to Nigeria in Russia on Tuesday.

Guardiola said: “He arrived two days ago and he was seen by the doctor. There’s nothing to be worried about.”

AFP

Manchester City Reach Champions League Quarter Finals

Manchester CityManchester City on Tuesday reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time despite a second leg goalless draw against Dynamo Kiev.

City which were 3-1 up from the first leg, were in control of the tie but lost centre-backs Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi to injury early on.

In the first half of the second leg match no shot on target was recorded by either side.

Jesus Navas hit the post with a low drive in the second half for City and Yaya Toure shot straight at the keeper.

The English side lost several other chances.

Pellegrini has made history by taking City further in the competition than any other manager.

They will want to avoid Barcelona in the draw for the next round – should the holders complete the job against Arsenal on Wednesday – having been knocked out by the current Spanish champions in each of the last two seasons.

It was just as well that City had done the damage in the first leg, as this was a desperately poor performance against a Kiev side who have never won in England.

With the match feeling almost like a testimonial for long spells, neither striker Sergio Aguero nor midfielder Toure could exert their influence.

The BBC reports that Injuries to both of City’s first-choice centre-backs will be of big concern to the home supporters.

Kompany misjudged a long ball forward and pulled up after turning to retrieve the situation.

He slumped to the ground and knew straight away he had suffered another setback, with manager Pellegrini confirming his captain had picked up another calf injury – the 14th he has suffered since joining the club in 2008.

Kompany has played 19 of City’s 46 matches this season, and the statistics show they are worse off when he is missing.