Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has confirmed that Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta and Fernando are ready to return to action for the Boxing Day (26 December) match against Sunderland, after the trio were absent from the 2-1 Premier League defeat to Arsenal. The Chilean boss also floated the possibility of Sergio Aguero starting against the Black Cats, but admitted that the Argentina international is not ready to complete a full 90 minutes.
Kompany has been on the sidelines since the draw at Aston Villa on 8 November due to a calf problem. City have struggled in defence since then, losing to Liverpool, Stoke City and the Gunners. Pellegrini has confirmed that the captain, as well as Zabaleta and Fernando, are available for the busy festive period, with City set to host Sunderland prior to trips to Leicester City (on 29 December) and Watford (2 January).
"The injury situation is better – we'll have the complete squad recovered apart from Samir Nasri. Pablo Zabaleta, Fernando and Vincent Kompany have all worked with the squad normally," Pellegrini said, although he refused to confirm if the trio would start.
"You are always missing good players – he's the captain here and if he doesn't play it's an important player we don't have in our squad. One of the most important things for this team is to be in the all competitions, not just depending on one player.
"We'll see the starting XI on Saturday – after that, especially with David, with Sergio, with Vincent, with Pablo – we have to see how they recover between games. I have not decided my team yet."
The Chilean defended his decision to play Aguero in the loss at Emirates Stadium, saying the striker could not complete a full game after spending nearly one month on the sidelines.
"Sergio was ready to play – he needed minutes. Maybe for three or four games he won't play 90 minutes as he's coming back from injury but he needs to play."
Pellegrini, meanwhile, has hailed the importance of the coming games against Sunderland and Leicester in their hopes to fight for the Premier League title, as the defeat at Arsenal left them four points behind the Gunners and six behind the Foxes.
"We are in this moment in third. We must play against Leicester on the 29 December so it's very important to win these two games to finish the first round," he said. "The important thing is to be involved at the end of January, then try and win the title in the remainder of the season.
"We have to try to focus game by game – the next is Sunderland, we try to beat them at home which is never an easy game,. Then we think about Leicester. We lost important points against Arsenal – a game of six points – but it was not a decisive game as I said before the match. You never win the title in December."