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Mancini: Failing to replace Kompany has cost Manchester City

The Belgian has managed just 15 Premier League appearances for the defending champions this season, while Manchester United have opened up a 12-point lead at the top of the table

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has admitted he made a mistake by not drafting in a replacement for injured captain Vincent Kompany in January.

Kompany has not featured for the champions since January 26 and has only made 15 appearances in the Premier League this season.

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"Probably we made a mistake," Mancini told reporters. "We knew the problem [with Kompany] and we were four days to the close of the market. We probably should have bought another defender - we tried.

"But we didn’t think that Vinnie would be out for 45 days. Vinnie has started to run, and we hope and think he’ll be ready for [the game against] Newcastle.

"He [Kompany] started training with us four days ago, but he was tired because he worked a lot. His calf was tired, but it is no problem. We don’t want to take a risk at the moment.

"We have one game then the international break, better that we wait. I don’t think he is out for the season but the calf is a dangerous injury. If you don’t recover well, you can have a problem for four, five, six weeks in a row. After the break, I think he will come back."

The Italian is hoping that leaders Manchester United will drop points between now and the Manchester derby on April 6 as City look to upset the odds and stage a stunning comeback into the title race for a second consecutive season.

"United play at home against Reading and then go to Sunderland," said Mancini.

"We hope we can play the derby with a gap of nine or seven points, certainly less than 12. Because from the derby to the end of the season, United have three or four difficult games."

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