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Saturday 19 August 2017

KompANY: we've no mental block

Captain Vincent Kompany (inset) is convinced Manchester City will find their stride in the Champions League this season.

City are facing a familiar battle to qualify for the knockout stages after enduring frustrating results in their opening three matches in this season's competition.

Their latest disappointment came as they surrendered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 in a controversial Group E clash against CSKA Moscow on a freezing night in the Russian capital.

CSKA equalised after they were awarded a disputed penalty four minutes from time.

The result left City with just two points at the mid-point of the first stage, seven behind group leaders Bayern Munich.

The situation has echoes of City's travails in 2011-12 and 2012-13, when they failed to advance from their groups.

But Kompany said: "There's no mental block, there's just occasionally a number of performances that need to be better, that's all it is.

"But I'm not going to follow the trend and go against my team, more than the media will do already, that's their role.

"In my case I'm 100 per cent convinced we'll overturn it. People forget we had a strong group stage last year. It's not every season the same but this year we've made it more difficult than it has to be."

City now seem to be in a three-way battle for second place in the group along with CSKA and second-placed Roma, who were thrashed 7-1 by Bayern.

They looked like strengthening their position as they struck twice in the first half at a near-empty Khimki Arena - the match was officially played behind closed doors - through Sergio Aguero and James Milner. The latter almost grabbed a third when he hit the post.

CSKA responded after the break through substitute Seydou Doumbia and the same player was controversially awarded a spot-kick when he went down under an Aleksandar Kolarov challenge late on.

City protested about that decision from referee Istvan Van, who they felt denied them a penalty when Edin Dzeko appeared to be impeded in the first half.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini initially appeared to blame the cold before insisting there were no excuses for the performance.

Likewise, Kompany said it was down to the team to perform to their optimum.

He said: "It was a game with two faces, I think. Obviously our first half was good and our second half was not good. The second half was as bad as the first half was good.

"We know that we are better than what we showed in the second half.

"We will look at ourselves and we know we have to win and we know it has to be better."

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