Football Football

Mangala not fully fit for Man City debut


MANGALA-PORTOLONDON, August 12- Eliaquim Mangala has revealed that he is not fully fit for the start of the Premier League season, meaning Manchester City are set to begin the campaign without any of their preferred centre-backs in peak condition.

France international Mangala, 23, became the most expensive defender in English football when he finally completed a 32 million-pound move from Porto on Monday.

However, the centre-back, an unused member of his country’s World Cup squad, has not played since appearing as a substitute in the 1-1 draw with Paraguay on June 1.

City’s regular defensive partners last season, Martin Demichelis and Vincent Kompany, missed Sunday’s 3-0 Community Shield defeat to Arsenal, which came only six days after both returned to training following the World Cup.

And Mangala has accepted that, despite his best efforts, he isn’t in top shape for City’s trip to Newcastle on Sunday.

He told the club’s official website: “I am happy now because I will be able to start a new adventure. I will be able to train again.

“Holidays are great but, if the time is too long, it is difficult to come back. I think that I will need a bit of time in order to be 100 percent, but it is normal — it is like those who returned to training last week, but I will work hard in order to be 100 percent as soon as possible.”

Mangala said his strengths were pace, aerial ability and competitiveness, adding: “When I am on the pitch, I always give everything from the first to the last minute. I am the kind of player that comes on the pitch to win.

“I am not giving away anything. I always fight until the end, and I hope that we will win quite a lot of titles this season.

“I am quite a fast defender. I am good in challenges, good in the air. I have the ability to score goals and have done so in the past few seasons. I won’t score 10 goals a season, but for a defender I get my share from set-pieces.”

While Mangala is City’s biggest summer signing, he believes he has much to learn from the two senior central defenders in the squad, explaining: “Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis are two players who possess great experience.

“They are players that I can look at and from whom I will learn a lot. They will have lots of advice for me regarding what they have already experienced. It will help me to progress.”

After signing Mangala, City have sent 19-year-old defender Jason Denayer on loan to Scottish champions Celtic for the season.

The Belgian is a member of the club’s Elite Development Squad and is yet to make his first-team debut.