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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Man City's Vincent Kompany determined not to make mistakes of past title defences

City finished 13 points off pace as reigning champions in 2012/13 and eight points behind Chelsea in 2014/15. But captain senses different atmosphere at Etihad Stadium now

Vincent Kompany says if Manchester City do not defend their league title, it will be because other teams got better. Reuters
Vincent Kompany says if Manchester City do not defend their league title, it will be because other teams got better. Reuters

Vincent Kompany is confident Manchester City will not make the mistakes they made in their past title defences as they bid to become the first team since 2009 to retain the Premier League crown.

City finished 13 points off the pace as reigning champions in 2012/13 and eight points behind Chelsea in 2014/15 but captain Kompany senses a different atmosphere at the Etihad Stadium now.

After a Community Shield win over Chelsea, City have begun their Premier League campaign with a 2-0 victory away at Arsenal and Sunday’s 6-1 thrashing of Huddersfield Town.

“We were on the back of two big wins against two big teams,” Kompany said. “It is the easiest moment to let something go. We did extremely well. From the first minute to the last the team wanted to win and took this game seriously.”

Kompany feels it is a sign City are still motivated, explaining: “Many players win the league for the first time and they come back and it’s something you have to feel, to see in their eyes if things have changed or not.

“I can only say it’s different from previous years we have won the league. I think everyone has been warned enough as well. No team in the last nine seasons has been able to repeat and win the league.

Benjamin Mendy, right, who has already been involved in five league goals, has brought improvement on his return to fitness. Reuters
Benjamin Mendy, right, who has already been involved in five league goals, has brought improvement on his return to fitness. Reuters

"There have 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. Everyone is training hard.

"There’s so much competition in the team that we have to anyway.”

The Belgian defender is confident City will not regress and believes they can only be deposed if others improve.

“I’m not saying we are going to do as well as we did last year," he argued, "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.”

Left-back Benjamin Mendy, who has already been involved in five league goals, has brought improvement on his return to fitness.

Yet if part of the focus has been on his effect on the pitch, part has been on his prolific use of social media. When manager Pep Guardiola suggested he needed to focus more on football, the Frenchman responded jokingly with an emoji on Twitter.

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Steve Luckings: Return of Benjamin Mendy feels like new signing for City

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A post shared by Benjamin Mendy (@benmendy23) on

But while Mendy is adamant his personality will stay the same, he revealed he will cut back on his social media use.

“Every time I am with my phone I am on Instagram or Twitter and just now I need to be careful,” he said. “When I am at the training centre, I don't use my phone but instead I listen to the manager. I don't change but in the dressing room I don't use my phone at all. It's better.”

Events inside the City dressing room are becoming better known thanks to the Amazon documentary All Or Nothing, which became available last week.

“It was amazing,” Mendy added. “We did a very big season and when we see every moment, it's very good atmosphere for the people inside the dressing room.”

Midfielder Bernardo Silva savoured City’s display against Huddersfield while singling out Sergio Aguero, who scored his 13th City hat-trick, for praise.

“Another fantastic performance,” the Portuguese said. “Once again he proved how good he is and it is a privilege to have him with us and be able to count on so many goals every season.

"It was an amazing performance by everyone."