Pep Guardiola insists captain Vincent Kompany will be given every opportunity to prove his long-term value to him at Manchester City.
Kompany has had limited time to impress the new City manager after missing 11 of the opening 14 games of the season due to injury.
He has also been substituted during the last two matches as he listens to medical advice to manage his comeback from his latest lay-off – the 34th of his City career – carefully.
Aside from fitness issues there have also been questions over whether 30-year-old Kompany can adapt to the ball-playing expectations Guardiola has for his centre-backs.
But the City boss said: “All the professional players around the world can play in different styles and of course he can in my way and with our ideas.
“He has a contract. So of course (he has a future). What is the problem now about Vincent and the future?
“He is a Man City player and the reason why he didn’t play the last two seasons regularly was because he was injured many, many times.
“We are trying to give him faith to play regularly. When he’s fit he is going to have the same options to play as his team-mates. Then it depends on my decision (about) his quality, performance, everything.”
Kompany’s first attempt to come back this season ended in frustration as he walked off the the field in the last minute of the EFL Cup tie at Swansea in September. There have also been a number of occasions in the past when the Belgian has tried to play too many minutes too soon.
Guardiola said: “We decided after what happened at Swansea to try to avoid it again. We are trying to handle the situation in that way until hopefully we arrive at the moment he can play 90 minutes.”
Setting the pace
Premier League leaders City are looking to get back to winning ways at West Brom this weekend after more than a month without tasting victory. Their failure to win any of their last six games in all competitions constitutes their worst run for eight years and the worst of Guardiola’s managerial career.
Opponents have successfully nullified City in recent weeks and Guardiola expects another difficult encounter at The Hawthorns.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Guardiola said: “It’s long ball, it’s physical. I saw their games against Tottenham and Liverpool and I realise how tough it will be.
“They will be high pressing and after that they recover the ball. They defend low, they are very compact with very good movement, (good) on the counter attack and they are very strong on set-pieces. They use his style marvellously, perfectly. We have to adapt in that way because when we have the ball they are going to adapt to us.”
After comments by Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho describing life living in a hotel following his move to the city, Guardiola was also asked how he is settling in.
He said: “I am not as happy as before – because we did not win. Our life depends on the results! But in general, my kids are so happy in school, my wife as well. I’m here and I work very well. I’m happy, so happy.”
Guardiola was also asked to address the recent revelation from his biographer that Real Madrid enquired about his services earlier this year, and the former Barcelona boss made clear the Bernabeu advances were unwelcome.
He said: “I’m a follower of FC Barcelona. I don’t think Real Madrid needs a manager like me and I wouldn’t fit there either.”