Injuries to “big players” Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi becalmed the Manchester City dressing space, says Pablo Zabaleta.
Pablo Zabaleta conceded Manchester City’s celebrations over reaching the Champions League quarter-finals had been subdued after centre-backs Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi suffered first-half injuries in the goalless draw against Dynamo Kiev.
City had been grateful for the 3-1 lead they carried over from the initial leg on the last-16 clash in Kiev right after influential captain Kompany suffered a recurrence of his troublesome calf injury in the seventh minute.
Otamendi sustained a dead leg in a challenge with Oleg Gusev to depart after 24 minutes of a listless initially half, with Kiev unable to sufficiently test City’s hastily thrown collectively defensive duo of Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis.
Afterwards, City boss Manuel Pellegrini mentioned Kompany would miss a “minimum of a month”, while Otamendi remains hopeful he can feature in Sunday’s crunch Manchester derby.
“We were satisfied because we went through to the subsequent round but naturally [less so] once you see team-mates [injured] – in particular Vincent, that is the fourth time he has got an injury this season using the identical problem – as well as currently Nico,” Zabaleta mentioned.
“When you lose two huge players like this, you’d like to celebrate but at times you just take into consideration them and also you really feel slightly bit down simply because they’re two significant players for this team.
“We will see how the medical staff assess the players and see how undesirable those injuries are. Hopefully not too undesirable and they could possess a speedy recovery.”
The excitement levels elevated marginally right after a dour initial half at the Etihad Stadium, with Jesus Navas striking the post for City before a late Dynamo rally was as fruitless as it was futile.
“Of course we’re very proud, we made history. We’ll see the draw on Friday,” stated Zabaleta, who urged his colleagues not to fear any prospective clash with all the heavyweights of European football.
“We will need to think in this group that we’ve players excellent sufficient to compete in this competition.
“We will need to repeat again a further fantastic efficiency and see if we can undergo in the next round.”
But initial up for the long-serving right-back could be the familiar passion and intensity of a derby against Manchester United, with City aiming to safeguard their place inside the major four and a four-point advantage more than Louis van Gaal’s side because the season enters its final stretch.
“Of course, I’ve been right here for a lengthy time. I know that is a special game,” Zabaleta added.
“From Wednesday, a handful of people today might be talking about City making history in the Champions League but the most important factor are going to be persons speaking concerning the derby – that’s typical within this city when a major game is coming at the weekend.
“Let’s celebrate the Champions League tonight but I am confident tomorrow the players will 100 per cent concentrate on the United game.”