Pellegrini backing for Kompany

Kompany’s form this season has been the subject of much scrutiny with the Belgium centre-half criticised for failing to clear a cross that led to Luis Suarez’s opener in the 2-1 Barcelona defeat in midweek and being caught out again for the Uruguayan’s second at the Etihad Stadium.

Pellegrini’s skipper also came under fire for gifting Arsenal an early penalty in the surprise 2-0 Premier League home defeat to the Gunners last month.

But the Chilean, speaking at a news conference to preview Sunday lunchtime’s trip to Liverpool,??said: “Vincent is an experienced player with a strong character. He must receive the criticism that everyone receives when our team doesn’t have the performance that everyone hopes for.

“I think it’s not a problem for him, I am sure that he will have a strong reaction.”

Asked if Kompany could still be regarded as one of Europe’s best defenders, Pellegrini said: “I think he is a great player.”

The City boss added that he would keep his own thoughts about the individual performances of his players in-house and said: “I don’t defend the performance of the team – not just Kompany.

“We played moments of the (Champions League) game, the first 25 minutes and all the second half, without any problem.

“But I think the parts of the game that decided the score were because of poor performance from me and from the team – everyone, not just individuals or the skills of just one player.

“I always talk with the players about their level in private. I don’t analyse what they do to the media.”

Kompany, 28, has been a highly influential figure at City in recent years, providing the foundation for their title successes of 2012 and 2014.

Suggestions were put that his lack of a regular partner this season, with??Pellegrini alternating between Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis, might??have been disruptive.

Pellegrini added: “I don’t think so. We work every day during the training sessions with different names. The performance of the players doesn’t depend on who they play with.

“He is also coming back from a long injury and it’s not easy for a player coming back to give 100 per cent.”