There’s a switch in focus this week with the return of EFL Cup action, and there’s one fixture that stands out: the Manchester derby.
City travel to Old Trafford for the second time this season, having already clinched a 2-1 win back in September, seeking a place in the quarter-finals and a return to winning ways.
There’s plenty of preview in today’s headlines, including comments from skipper Vincent Kompany – who’s always fired up for a derby. He’s delivered some fighting talk, as reported in the Manchester Evening News.
Asked if he was looking forward to the clash, he replied: “Come on... Always.
"The bigger the game, the better. That's how I've always approached it and I will for the rest of my career.
"Those games are what you play for."
On the subject of Jose Mourinho’s suggestion the EFL Cup is the least important competition to United, Kompany added: “It's just physically impossible for me to play down a derby but the more they say this is the fourth competition, the better it is for us.”
The City captain also opened up about his injury concerns, revealing he made a promise to City’s medical staff.
As Four Four Two explain: “The City captain has suffered from persistent muscular problems over recent seasons, most notably calf injuries, and he required surgery on his groin and thigh after hobbling out of May's Champions League semi-final second-leg defeat to Real Madrid.
“Kompany's initial comeback this season ended with a recurrence of groin trouble in stoppage time of a 2-1 EFL Cup win at Swansea City, although he returned to the starting XI for Sunday's 1-1 draw with Southampton in the Premier League and appeared to come through unscathed.”
Kompany told reporters: "My situation is very simple. I think you can make a mistake to over-analyse things. I've been out for six months.
"I've had to make one commitment to the medical staff, which was that I'd be honest towards them with my feelings, and that I would listen to them when they made a decision.
"I told them how I felt the day before the game and they made the decision for me. I wanted to play, of course, that wasn't even in doubt, but I've just made this commitment to listen to them a little bit more.
"Maybe another day I would never have gone off after 70 minutes like I did [against Southampton], but it's part of the bargain, let's put it that way, and it's for the best.
"I think I thrive on the challenge. God knows what would have happened if I'd never had those injuries but I need to get something that makes me stronger out of it, something different from other players, and that's what I believe in.
"Okay, that's been my reality for the last few years now, but motivation only keeps going up, because I feel like I belong on the pitch and I deserve to have good moments because of how I've worked every single day to come back. But I trust myself, incredibly."
Quoted in the Daily Mail, the Belgian declared: “He just told us to believe. He doesn't want us to have doubts in the way that we are playing.
“He wanted to make sure that we know the way we are playing now is the good way. That was the message. There are a lot of risks in how we play, we know that.
“I know this is not a very patient world but we are trying something very new. There will be ups and downs. Other teams will adapt to us but everything will be OK in the end. We know we have to learn everything perfectly for this to work.”
City’s ten-game winning run at the start of the season convinced De Bruyne to trust in Guardiola’s vision and style.
He continued: “It felt so very good to be in the team at that point. The way we play is the way every team want to play but not a lot of teams can play that amazing way.
“It's not as easy as it looked. There is hard work involved and maybe many people wouldn't like that. But, for the best teams in the world who can do that without losing too many points, then it's just great.
“The goals that we have conceded have been more like mistakes from us, rather than us being blown apart. So if we can minimise them it will be better for us, we know that.
“If the manager changed (his style) now people will ask why. So he can't really win. Anyway, why should he change his ways just because he has come to England? This is his belief and he thinks it's right.
“He has achieved so many things playing this way, so I can understand why he continues. We said it before the season. If we lose, the criticism is going to be way worse than it was before. But apart from Southampton and losing at SpursSpurs v Manchester City Premier League 2 October match report, the other games were good.
“There are always new challenges in football. You just need to adapt otherwise you won't fit in. And if you don't fit in then you will have to go somewhere else.”