Soccer: Season doesn't hang on Cup final - Kompany

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany rejected suggestions that his side's entire season hangs on whether or not they can overcome Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup final.

City defeated Chelsea 2-1 in the semi-finals today to reach their second final in three years, two years on from the 2011 success against Stoke City that ended the club's 35-year trophy drought.

City failed to make it beyond Christmas in both the Champions League and the League Cup, and with Manchester United surging to victory in the Premier League, it leaves the FA Cup as their only chance of silverware.

However, with his side also in a comfortable position in second place in the league, Kompany sees no reason to be downcast about their performances this season.

"It is not a question of salvaging the season. You never know how good your season will be until after the last game," he said.

"It is important for our fans that we bring trophies back to Manchester. If we achieve that this season, it is important we cherish it and be happy about it.

"You can always improve and we have another season to do that, so you shouldn't look backwards too much."

Goals either side of half-time from Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero appeared to have set City on course for a comfortable victory at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, only for Demba Ba's 66th-minute goal to leave them hanging on.

In a tense denouement, Aguero was fortunate to escape punishment for an appalling two-footed stamp on Chelsea centre-back David Luiz, but City manager Roberto Mancini played down the incident.

"I didn't see it. I need glasses," he joked.

"Usually Sergio takes a lot of kicks from defenders. I don't know what he did. This can happen in football.

"The referee was there. There were six referees on the pitch - I think if Sergio does something wrong... (he would have been punished)."

Mancini was rewarded for keeping faith with goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon, who has deputised for first-choice goalkeeper Joe Hart in the competition.

The Romanian produced several important saves, notably thwarting Juan Mata and Ba in quick succession at 2-1, and Mancini suggested that he would keep his place for the final on May 11.

City will enter the final as strong favourites against a Wigan side who currently trail them by 34 points in the Premier League and are embroiled in a battle to avoid relegation.

However, Wigan produced a superb performance to beat Everton 3-0 in the quarter-finals before sweeping past Millwall 2-0 on Saturday, and Kompany anticipates an evenly balanced game.

City will have an early opportunity to size up their final opponents as they face Wigan in the league on Wednesday.

"For us it's important to beat Wigan, because we need to have more points for the second position," said Mancini. "It's important to win."

- AFP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a3 at 20 Sep 2014 23:10:11 Processing Time: 567ms