MANCHESTER City manager Manuel Pellegrini felt he needed to “refresh the team” and leave out captain Vincent Kompany for his side’s much-needed win against Leicester.
Kompany was dropped to the bench along with Pablo Zabaleta and Edin Dzeko, while Samir Nasri and Fernandinho missed out on the squad altogether.
“We have the squad we want so it was a good moment to refresh the team,” Pellegrini said.
“For the same reason Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Fernandinho, Samir Nasri, Edin Dzeko – that were playing normally – I think it was important to refresh the team mentally and physically after two difficult games.”
Central defender Kompany had come in for particularly heavy criticism after City’s damaging losses to Barcelona and Liverpool in the past week and Pellegrini decided to act with the season threatening to unravel.
Pellegrini added that Kompany, normally an inspirational presence in the side but in poor form of late, took the decision “very well, without any problems”.
City, trailing Chelsea by five points in the Barclays Premier League having played a game more, were not at their fluent best against the Foxes. But they got back to winning ways with goals late in each half from David Silva and substitute James Milner.
After a difficult few days, in which Pellegrini’s future has been the subject of speculation, the result was a relief.
Pellegrini said: “I think always when you don’t have the result you need the next game is very difficult. That is why the most important thing was to win the three points.
“We dominated the game and had a good possession of the ball.
“Maybe Leicester is at the bottom but if you see their results – they drew 2-2 against Liverpool and against Everton and were very unlucky not to draw against Arsenal.”
City created a number of chances but were denied on several occasions by veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.