Vincent Kompany hailed Manchester City’s work rate in difficult conditions as they swept aside Basel 4-0 in the Champions League.
Kompany – playing his first game in the competition since injury curtailed his participation in the 2016 semi-final at Real Madrid – and centre-back partner Nicolas Otamendi endured some nervy moments early on in the last-16 tie against livewire forward Dimitri Oberlin.
But after Ilkay Gundogan converted Kevin De Bruyne’s 14th-minute corner, the Premier League leaders shifted majestically through the gears, as Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero caught out Basel goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik with fine finishes.
Gundogan added a sublime second after half-time, but Kompany’s attention turned back towards the foundation City set when it was not all plain sailing during the opening stages.
“It always goes back to the same thing – the work rate in defending and recovering the ball early,” the captain told BT Sport
“With their back five they’re a little bit similar to Chelsea how they try to get out quickly. You’re stretched as a back four.
“The pitch was really difficult and it was cold out there. For a Champions League game we did ever so well.”
City are battling for honours on four fronts and the return fixture with the Swiss champions will come on the back of an EFL Cup final date against Arsenal and Premier League showdowns with the Gunners and Chelsea.
Nevertheless, Kompany insists Basel should not expect an easier ride when they arrive in Manchester.
“In these kind of situations, in my opinion, it’s about more than that,” he added.
“If we have this game at the Etihad and it’s a 3-2 or a 2-2 draw, that won’t give us a good feeling to go into the next round.
“We’ve showed we were the best team today and only a lack of enthusiasm will stop that at the Etihad. That’s not permitted.”