Vincent Kompany: 'This is just the beginning'
Do you think Manchester City will be champions?
Yeah, it’s my job to feel that and think that. Every day on the training pitch I see we have a great team and a great group of guys, and there is never any doubt in my mind that this team deserves to win trophies. We have a chance to win the title and we have do everything we can to take it.
Did you feel that way after losing to Chelsea and Liverpool?
Defeat only gives you more hunger to win, that's my way to look at it. Defeat is never a bad thing if you know how to lift yourself – you can come back and be stronger.
Our last competitive game where we could actually win something last season was against Wigan [in the FA Cup Final] and we lost. The first competitive game where we could win a trophy after that was the League Cup final [against Sunderland in March] and we won it. When you lose something, you do everything you can to win more in the future.
Will the season have been a failure if you don't win the title?
It’s hard to say. If in the end you end up losing because your performance was disappointing and you didn’t bring the best out of the team, then that would be disappointing. But if you lose because the other team is better, then no, we will just go again. And we will try and be that little bit better next time.
What’s going on in your head before those decisive games?
It’s excitement, pure excitement. I am very focused. In the past I had the issue of getting focused for the smaller games, but you need your focus for every game. I try to be in all the games like how I am for the Liverpool game, the Man United game, the Barcelona game. I try to be like this in every game – but those games are special, you cannot deny it. You are playing against the best so you just need to be at your best. If I am then I can give them as tough a game as they are going to give me.
Fans love a title race going to the wire. How does it feel to be involved?
It’s maybe less enjoyable, but more exciting – you enjoy the end of the race when you’re winning but it’s exciting being involved. I don't think any player in football should take this for granted when being in a position of being able to win something. Even for the fans, even when you lose – sometimes it doesn’t really matter. The fans want to be involved in a title battle or want to be involved with cup runs until the end and that’s what’s important. And if you can do that year after year, you will eventually win something – maybe a lot.
Will that experience of the QPR game in 2012 help?
That will help us a lot, yes. I think that perhaps the reason we nearly lost that game was because it was the first time we'd ever been in that position, but now we've got that first time out of the way, it feels like the path is more clear. It's still difficult – we are favourites and the pressure is different now – but it’s more like you know where you are going and you know what you need to do.
Quando sono arrivato qui, non avrei mai pensato di vincere due campionati
What would it mean to you to win your second title in three years?
This is what I wanted. It feels like an achievement – a huge achievement. When I started at City I would never have thought we would have all those trophies by now, but now I have won the first ones I just want this to carry on. The rate in which we win trophies – I want this to increase. For me, it's still a long-term project. If we win the league, it's just another building block for the future.
The team seems more consistent since the Champions League exit; has that helped, in a strange way?
We wanted to get to the next round – we wanted to do something special in the Champions League. In a way, I still believe the way we exited the Champions League actually helped us realise the small distance and difference between us and the top three clubs in the world – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich. We were only a couple of details away [from winning] against Barcelona, and of course that gives you confidence for the rest of the season.
Did the nature of the win at Old Trafford boost confidence too?
I've been in Manchester for six years; I can tell you the derby is one of the games I look forward to most. When I first came here, if we were beaten 2-0 we'd look at it and say "Yeah, we had a good 20 minutes there, we did OK". But now I look at the last three or four years and the way it’s turned, and for someone like me who has grown into the Manchester culture it's great. It means a lot to me.
How has the team evolved under Manuel Pellegrini?
Our style’s evolved. The benchmark was already high before he came but I think it's even higher now. It’s not just about winning but also playing well; with style. It’s about giving the fans something they recognise us for. The more this team evolves, the more you think of Man City having a certain way of playing – a bit like Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers. I think that is what big clubs need to aim to do – associate your club to a style of play. Our fans have had a lot of good moments at the Etihad this year, so we must be doing something right.
If you had to describe yourself in three words, which would you use?
Stubborn [long pause, followed by laughter], stubborn, and passionate.
You're clearly a man of great conviction; in fact, your team-mate Sergio Aguero recently told FFT that you would make a good politician. Ever thought of running for parliament?
No, that’s not on my agenda! I don’t know if that’s a compliment from Kun or not [laughs]. I’m surprised he even brought it up!