Vincent Kompany did not want to risk another injury against Barcelona, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has revealed.
The City captain returned from a groin problem with a brief substitute appearance against Everton last weekend but then did not even make the matchday squad for Wednesday’s Champions League game at the Nou Camp.
That led to speculation the influential Belgium defender had been dropped but Guardiola has made clear this was not the case and the 30-year-old did not feel 100 per cent.
Kompany’s City career has been beset by muscle injuries, the latest being the groin problem suffered on his comeback from a previous lay-off at Swansea last month.
It seems Guardiola wanted Kompany in his side to face Barca for his experience but the player himself, mindful of previous setbacks, felt it was too soon.
Guardiola said: “I thought two or three days ago maybe Vincent in Camp Nou, for his personality, maybe he can do that.
“One day after the training session here he said, ‘I didn’t feel like this (is right)’. In that moment when his head is not ready, (with) what happened the last two years, it is better to stay out.”
Given Kompany’s past record, Guardiola says it is important to get the recovery right and not rush him back into action.
He said: “I spoke with Vincent (and said), ‘Don’t put on a lot of pressure about how many games, or (set) big, big targets. Try to train good and after a week training and no injuries, after we play a game. After that play 75 minutes, 90 minutes’.
“Maybe it was my mistake in Swansea not to put in another player. I think when he’s trying to play one game and after that another one, he’ll take a lot of confidence and maybe he’ll be able to play more games.”