Manchester City right-back Bacary Sagna has backed compatriot Eliaquim Mangala to shine against Paris-Saint Germain in the absence of Vincent Kompany.
Club captain Kompany appeared set to give boss Manuel Pellegrini a fitness boost for Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final, which is poised at 2-2 following last-week’s first leg at the Parc des Princes, when he returned to training ahead of schedule from his latest calf injury.
But Pellegrini told a pre-match news conference Kompany was “not 100 per cent” fit, meaning Sagna’s fellow France international Mangala is expected to line up alongside Nicolas Otamendi at centre-back – the Argentina defender having been passed fit despite suffering a twisted ankle during Saturday’s 2-1 win over West Brom.
Inconsistent performances and some high-profile errors have undermined Mangala’s City career since he joined from Porto in August 2014, although Sagna believes the 25-year-old can show his quality against PSG’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic-led attack.
“Vincent is our captain and a quality player,” he told a pre-match news conference. “But Mangala has been strong in recent games so, with or without [Kompany], we have a good team.
“We need to remain as focused as in the last game. We are confident we can qualify but we need a good performance.
“PSG are a strong team, they have been [Ligue 1] champions for a few weeks. They have quality players and can be dangerous, but we must focus on our team.”
Sagna added: “To qualify would be amazing. I know Paris are going to come here to give us problems but I’m sure we can do it again.
“We had never reached the quarters before and we have a chance to reach the semis, which is important for the club.”