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Kompany: The goal was worth the wait

LEADING THE PACK: Kompany returned to the starting line-up after being rested against Hull City.

LEADING THE PACK: Kompany returned to the starting line-up after being rested against Hull City.

Vincent Kompany said his first goal in 20 months had been worth the wait after the central defender’s second-half header helped inspire Man City to a vital 3-0 win at Southampton.

Back in the starting line-up after missing last week’s Etihad win over Hull, Kompany produced a magnificent all-round display which was capped by a 54th-minute header which set City on their way to a hugely impressive Premier League triumph.

It was Kompany’s first goal for the club since an effort against Chelsea back in August 2015. Since then he has been bedevilled by injury, making just 21 starts in 102 City games.

Now restored to full fitness, the Belgian demonstrated just what it meant both to him and the team in the way he joyfully celebrated after scoring his goal.

Kompany said: “For me it’s always a long journey back [to fitness]. I would have liked to be injured less in my career but every single time I put in the hard work and don’t really complain too much about what’s happening to me and just carry on.

“It’s up and downs but, ultimately, what gets you up is the fact you keep looking towards your objective and I know the season is long.

“I know that such moments are worth working for. If I had to work 15 years just to have one moment like this, I would do it, not a problem. I’m really happy and I want to stay in there.

“When this happens, I feel I’m giving something back to the fans. I feel I’m finally giving something back to the team as well and that’s what you see in those moments.”

It was a crucial victory in terms of City’s push to cement their place in the top four, moving the Club above Liverpool into third place and opening up a seven point gap over Everton and Manchester United who are in fifth and sixth place respectively.

And with an FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal next on the horizon – followed by an Etihad derby against United – Kompany knows the big games will keep coming thick and fast.

The City skipper added: “We’re delighted with the clean sheet and the performance. It’s an extremely hard place to come and to get such a result, all of us are proud. And our fans will be happy.

“We knew this game was massive for us. That’s why there’s so much pressure on us so to come here and have such a performance, everyone in the team deserves top, top marks for that.

“We’re doing something well and for our team it’s this process of improving and today it’s looking that way.”

And looking ahead to the Wembley clash against Arsenal and the United derby, Kompany quipped: “I love the FA Cup and I love a derby!”

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